Sarasota Criminal Appeal Lawyer
If you were wrongfully convicted of a crime in Florida or pressured into pleaded guilty when you were innocent, you should consider appealing your case. An appeal is when you take your case to the next highest level of court and ask this court to review and reverse the decision. If you were found guilty of a criminal charge, you would appeal in the hopes that the higher court would find the error made during trial and determine your innocence. However, an appeal is not entirely new trial. Instead, the higher court looks to see if the trial court specifically made a legal error, which means a ruling or outcome within your trial was not in line with the law.
5 Questions You Should Ask If Deciding to Appeal
Can I Appeal?
Whether or not you have the right to appeal your criminal conviction is based on Florida Appellate Rule of Procedure 9.140. You cannot appeal a decision if you are found innocent or the charges or dropped – and you likely wouldn’t want to. If you pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a crime, then your right to appeal is limited. You are only entitled to appeal if you reserved this right within your plea agreement or you are allowed to due to the lower court’s lack of jurisdiction.You may not be sure of whether or not you are allowed to appeal. You should speak with an experienced Sarasota criminal appeal lawyer to learn more about your rights. If you believe there has been a mistake, you deserve to know how you can fight to fix it. However, you may appeal:
- A final judgment finding you guilty
- A Final order withholding adjudication after a finding of guilt
- An order granting probation or community control, or both, whether or not you were found guilty
- Orders entered after a final judgment or finding of guilty
- An unlawful or illegal sentence
- Your sentence after being found guilty
When Must I Appeal?
In general, you have 30 days to file a notice of appeal with the trial court. Otherwise, you lose your right to have your case reviewed by a higher court and you must complete your sentence. If you are wondering about an appeal, call Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. immediately to ensure you do not miss an important deadline.
Where Do I Appeal to?
Your criminal case would have originally been heard in a county court or a circuit court. County courts typically hear less serious criminal offenses, county or city ordinance violations, and traffic offenses. There is one per county in Florida. If you were charged with a more serious criminal offense like a felony, then your case began at the circuit court level. There are 20 circuit courts for all of Florida. Some contain only one county while others cover cases for multiple counties. When you appeal a county or circuit court decision, you move up to a district court of appeal. There are five districts in Florida and you must take your case to the one with jurisdiction over the lower court that tried your case. If you were charged in Sarasota, you were likely tried in the Twelfth Circuit Court and would then appeal to the Second District Court of Appeal. However, if you were charged in Orlando, then you were tried in the Ninth Circuit Court and would appeal to the Fifth District Court. In most criminal cases, the appellate court is the last word. If your conviction is affirmed at the appellate level, you are unlikely to hear a different decision in the future. However, there may be times in which you take your case from the district court to the Florida Supreme Court, such as if you and your attorney believe the law that resulted in your punishment is unconstitutional.
How Do I Appeal?
Florida Appellate Rule of Procedure 9.110 determines how you apply for appeal though it is best to work with an experienced attorney if you wish to fight the outcome of your trial. Your attorney will draft the necessary legal documents including the notice of appeal, which must be filed with the appropriate court. Within 60 days of filing the notice of appeal, the clerk of the court will prepare the entire record of your case. Once your attorney has the full record of your case, they will analyze where they believe a legal error was made and draft what is known as an initial brief.
Should I Appeal?
Whether or not it is a good idea to appeal your case depends on a number of circumstances, including the consequences of conviction, your likelihood of hearing a different verdict, and how long the appeal process could take. Before assuming you should or should not appeal, speak with a Sarasota criminal appeal lawyer at Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A.. An attorney experienced in appealing criminal convictions can analyze your case and give you an objective opinion on whether a legal error was made.
A Sarasota Criminal Lawyer Can Help You
Appeals are an essential part of our country’s criminal court process and you should not assume that you cannot appeal or that there is no point to it. If you were wrongfully found guilty, do not agree with a harsh sentence, or were pressured into pleading guilty, contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. immediately. Attorney Erika Valcarcel can review your case, determine whether you have the right to appeal, and discuss whether appealing the outcome of your case is the best choice for you.
To learn more, contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 and schedule an initial consultation.