You may want to appeal your criminal conviction. You might even want to appeal your sentence after a guilty plea. An appeal allows a higher court to correct mistakes, so it’s a helpful way to take full advantage of your constitutional right to your day in court.
There are many steps to taking an appeal. Missing even one of these steps might be fatal to your efforts. Here are five things that you need to do in order to appeal a court ruling:
You have a brief window of time to file your appeals. The timelines may differ depending on the type of appeal. If you miss the deadline, you might miss your chances. Traditionally, the time for filing an appeal is 30 days.
Ask for Transcripts
The higher court needs to know what you’re appealing. You need to point out how the lower court made mistakes. That means you’re going to need to get a record of what happened in the lower court. Check with the court clerks for how to go about ordering a transcript of your proceedings.
Get Copies of Paperwork
You need to tell the higher court what decision you’re asking them to appeal. That means you need a copy of the lower court’s judgment. The judgment might need a certification that it’s an authentic copy.
Fill Out Forms
To file an appeal, you need to submit the correct paperwork to the higher court. They might want you to use a specific form or prepare your own document in a specific way. Make sure that you look at examples that tell you what information you need to include. These documents usually include, at a minimum, the case number as well as a detailed explanation about why you think the lower court made a mistake.
Work with an Attorney
In order for an appeal to succeed, you need to be able to point the higher court to specific legal or factual reasons that the lower court erred. The court isn’t going to create your arguments for you. Working with a skilled and experienced attorney can help you identify the issues that are most likely to succeed.
You have a right to take full advantage of the criminal justice system. Your case matters, and you should fully explore all of your options. With a little bit of planning, you can successfully appeal your case.