There is a common misconception that a federal criminal appeal is a re-trial, which will be another chance to hear and study the case facts once again. This is not the case; on the contrary, an appeal is whole different from a trial or retrial.
What is a federal criminal appeal?
This is a direct appeal. A legal proceeding that involves reviewing the judgment of the court and checking for legal errors. The clients who choose to do this do it in order to challenge the decision of the court, which is often the district court. The proceedings practically involve more writhing that talking because the lawyer submits guidelines that point out the alleged legal errors during the court proceedings. The attorney of the other party will also submit some brisfs in response to the assertions of that first lawyer.
There will be no witnesses involved
Appellate courts are different from district courts in various ways. There are no courts of reporters, records, witnesses or even juries. They do not hear testimonials or gather pieces of evidence. The only thing they do is tackle legal arguments once the evidence and testimonies have been presented in the district courts. They could summon these items from the judges but they only accept what was presented in the district courts. They cannot accept new evidence either nor witnesses so the lawyer should let their client know that records from before are inflexible. The appeal court will not ask to alter any records in any way.
One area of court appeals that is very common is for those charged with assault and need a lawyer. In Toronto there are many law firms that would handle these cases.
The process could run for months
If you would like to ask for a criminal appeal, you ought to know that it will be a slow process. Some people get very frustrated just after a few months but they have to understand that there are numerous cases to be heard. Courts also try not to make hasty decisions as they need to consider legal claims, which take time. Of course, with the modern age, technology is making things a lot easier and faster.
Despite the fact that legal judges can do research on the internet, they would still need to take their time in decision making because they will have to go through and consider all the arguments presented to them. These people are human beings after all and not machines, they can only do so much. The clients need to be patient, realistic and very understanding even when there are delays in their cases. The slowness of the cases is not usually the fault of the judges; it is only because they have to handle the previously filed appeal cases. However, in general, one can expect their case to last about a year before the judge comes to a conclusion.
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How a Criminal Law Expert Can Change a Verdict
Receiving a guilty verdict should not worry you so much because it need not be the end of the road for you. This is more so if you were sentences in a lower court. You can easily request for your case to be heard in a higher court, which could change the decision of the lower court through filing for an appeal. Appealing a conviction normally involves some very different rules that are quite complicated, making it best to hire a professional criminal defense lawyer. Most law firms offer full criminal defense services which include appeals to higher courts.
In Canada, criminal lawyers specialize in provincial law, so it is important to get a lawyer that practices in the province you live in. For example you would want a criminal law firm in Toronto if you live in that city.
Time for filing an appeal
The court rules very strictly require that you file the notice of your appeal within a very short time. You will be required to file within fourteen days if you want to appeal to the magistrate court and not more than twenty one days if you are looking to appeal in a superior court. This should happen from the time of sentencing and conviction. The time to file is very crucial because if you file it after the mentioned days, it could be denied. There will be a notice, different from the appellate brief your lawyer will also prepare on your behalf.
Question of law
The appellate courts will only entertain those appeals that raise questions of law or legal principles in the previous verdict. When it comes to an appeal, the court will not conduct a rehearing of the case but they will focus more on then legal issues that you will raise in the appeal brief. This will involve arguing legal principles, which means that you will need to hire a criminal appellate lawyer for your appeal.
Types of appeal
Against conviction- You could appeal a conviction to a higher court and base it on the transcript of the proceedings in the lower court. The appellate court will not entertain any questions that will arise from the facts that were tried or heard in the lower courts unless you are able to prove exceptional circumstances existed. Once they hear the legal arguments, they may substitute your conviction judgment with an acquittal or they could return the case back to the lower court for a re-hearing.
Against sentence- You could also appeal your sentence to a higher court and you can site grounds like that the lower court committed a mistake in the imposition of a penalty that is outside the range prescribed for the offense. The judge might have failed to consider the facts that could have entitled you to a lower penalty. Since the penalties for offense are fixed by law, a criminal lawyer will be best to assist you in arguing the appeal against your sentence.
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