Norfolk Appeals Lawyer

Although the results of your criminal case may not be what you wanted or expected, you do not have to simply accept the results and move on. There are very specific rules and procedures in place under Virginia law that permit you to further challenge the outcome of your case on appeal.

Whether an appeal is right for you can be a complex question, and the pursuit of an appeal can be a lengthy and difficult process.

A Norfolk appeals lawyer may be able to examine the circumstances surrounding your case and give you an idea as to whether an appeal would be in your best interests. Speak with a skilled defense attorney today, and know that you are in capable hands.

Appealing a Conviction in Norfolk

When individuals choose to appeal a criminal conviction, they essentially are requesting that a higher court to review the case and determine if the lower court made any errors that should alter the outcome.

Individuals who appeal are asking the higher court to set aside or reverse the trial or lower court decision and in some cases, order a new trial.

If the appellate court agrees with the trial court decision, then it has the option of simply upholding or affirming the decision, which means that the original decision remains in place.

Grounds for Appeals

It is insufficient for the purposes of an appeal to simply claim that the trial court’s decision was incorrect. Rather, there must be specific and identifiable reasons that justify overturning the trial court’s ruling. Some common grounds for appeal may include the following:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel during the trial
  • Failure to read a proper jury instruction
  • Inappropriate admission or exclusion of certain evidence
  • Misapplication of the law

A successful appeal must identify all potential grounds for setting aside the trial court decision and provide sufficient support or evidence for each of those grounds. Individuals must make strong arguments to persuade the appellate court to reconsider the original decision and either reject the decision or order a new trial. Although the appellate court will not subjectively substitute its own judgment for that of the trial court, it will act so as to correct any clear legal errors that the lower court may have made.

Procedures for Initiating an Appeal

In order to initiate appellate review of a trial court decision, individuals must file a petition for appeal to the Virginia Court of Appeals, which is the court that hears appeals from Virginia circuit courts.

However, there are limited timeframes in which individuals must file petitions for appeal. If individuals fail to file these petitions within the required timeframe, they risk losing their opportunity to appeal altogether, and the original court decisions will remain in place.

Submission of Appellate Briefs

Unlike a criminal trial before a judge and/or jury, there is no witness testimony or evidence presented upon appeal. Rather, individuals seeking an appeal must submit a brief, or a written argument, in support of their petitions for appeal.

The government then has the opportunity to respond to the appellants’ briefs; in some cases, an appeals lawyer in Norfolk may choose to submit a written reply to the government’s opposing brief. If this is the case, then a judge on the court will determine whether to hear the appeal.

Oral Arguments on Appeal in Norfolk

If the judge decides to hear the appeal, then an oral argument will be scheduled in front of that particular judge. At an oral argument, there are no witnesses who testify or present evidence. Rather, an appellate attorney simply sets forth the reasons for the appeal and the evidence that supports those reasons.

The appellate court is limited to reviewing only the evidence and information that already is in the record. Typically, an appellate court will not consider new evidence or issues that were not raised before the trial court. This is why it is so important that all potential arguments, issues, and evidence be brought up during the original trial on criminal charges.

Contacting a Norfolk Appeals Attorney for Assistance

Filing an appeal can you give you an avenue for recourse when a court decision fails to go your way. Appeals involve complicated procedures and requirements that only a Norfolk appeals lawyer may be able to handle. Contact an experienced appellate attorney in Norfolk today, and learn about any options for appeal that may be available in your case.