The Law Offices of John Ferrara

What Are The Common Reasons That Appeals Are Generally Filed?


It is rare that anyone convicted of a felony does not file an appeal. However, not all who file the notice of appeal actually follow through and perfect the appeal. The most common appeals follow from convictions of serious cases, because the process can be both long and expensive, and the people who truly follow through have something significant at stake. Usually they are in prison or they have lost something of great value to themselves, such as a license to drive or to practice their profession. Finally, there is a group of people who appeal out of principle. They feel that the trial court treated them unfairly or illegally, and they want some measure of vindication.

It’s not always wise to appeal, as one can win on an appeal, have the case sent back to the trial court, and end up with a harsher sentence after the appeal. Because of this, it’s important to understand and weigh the risks against the benefits before undergoing this process.

What Types Of Criminal Convictions Do You Generally Handle In Appeal Cases?

The types of criminal convictions that we handle in appeals cases are any felony and some misdemeanors, especially if the misdemeanor followed from a conviction after trial, or a guilty plea after a suppression hearing. It’s not limited to just one type of conviction—homicide, sex crimes, and drug crimes tend to be what comes in the door more frequently, but every felony conviction is a potential appeal. We will handle some misdemeanors as well, but they are more rare.

What Makes The Case For A Good Appeal?

With rare exception, appeals by the defense require a conviction. An appeal as of right is one that does not require the court’s permission to appeal. The defense can appeal as of right any judgement of conviction, except when the argument is about sentence—if the sentence was harsh or excessive, or was predicated upon a guilty plea and the sentence imposed did not exceed the agreed upon sentence. Just about any other conviction is available for an appeal.

The defense can appeal with permission of the courts an order by the trial court, denying a motion to vacate a judgement of conviction made to the trial court. In other words, after the conviction there are procedures that allow the defendant to ask the trial judge to set aside that verdict. If the trial judge denies that request one must seek permission to appeal. In short, an appeal as a right normally follows from a final conviction.

Other cases where we need permission of the court are very similar. For example, when a trial court denies a motion to set aside the sentence or to set aside an illegal sentence, the defense must obtain permission to appeal.

The prosecution can appeal in certain circumstances. If the prosecution does appeal, the defense must respond to that appeal. The prosecution’s right to appeal is much more limited than the defense’s right. The defense may appeal any conviction. The prosecution’s right is limited to certain statutory rights to appeal. These include an order dismissing an accusatory instrument, such as an indictment or complaint, or any count within an accusatory instrument. If the trial court dismisses an accusatory instrument, the prosecution can appeal. The defense must respond.

The prosecution can also appeal a claim of an illegal sentence imposed or the suppression of evidence by the trial court.

For more information on Common Reasons For Criminal Appeals, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 794-1303 today.

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(845) 794-1303

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