Challenging a Trial Court’s Decision
It can be devastating to hear that you were found guilty of a criminal offense. A conviction can result in harsh penalties and the loss of your rights and freedoms. Fortunately, even if a final decision is made in your case, your legal options are not exhausted. You have the right to file a direct appeal, which means that you are challenging the trial court’s decision.
When seeking an appeal, you must prove to the appellate court that a legal error occurred during your initial trial. This requires, among other things, reviewing the original court record and submitting a brief to support your claims. To successfully file an appeal, must be able to craft compelling written arguments and have a thorough grasp of relevant case law. At Patituce & Associates, our lawyers have over 30 years of experience and extensive knowledge of post-conviction judicial processes. When you turn to us for legal representation, you can be confident that you will receive advice and guidance from a team that prioritizes your best interests and will work relentlessly toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Learn more about your legal options after a conviction by calling us at 440-471-7784 today to set up a consultation with a Cincinnati direct appeal lawyer.
Grounds for an Appeal
Whether you have been convicted of a federal or state crime, you have the right to appeal the decision. Although a direct appeal affords you the opportunity to challenge the outcome of your initial trial, it can’t be filed just because you are unhappy with the result. Your claim must be based on a legal error.
Grounds for a direct appeal could include things such as:
- Juror misconduct
- Ineffective defense counsel
- Insufficient evidence to establish guilt
- Prosecutorial misconduct
- Improper instructions given to jurors
Starting the Direct Appeal Process
Time is of the essence when seeking a direct appeal. In Ohio, you have 30 days from the date of the final judgment to pursue this legal option. When you file, you must submit various forms to the trial court clerk to get the process started.
The documents required for a direct appeal include:
- Notice of appeal
- Docketing statement
Review by Appellate Court Judges
After you successfully submit your documents for a direct appeal, a panel of appellate judges will review your case. Note that, at this point, you are not granted a new trial. Rather, the judges will look at the legal reason you are seeking the appeal and examine the original court record. The court record is the information that was presented at the trial, such as the evidence and testimonies.
Along with reviewing the court record, the appellate judges will look at the brief you and your attorney submitted. The brief is a written statement that presents your legal arguments for appeal, identifies where the error during your trial occurred, and points to relevant laws.
In some cases, the appellate judges will hear oral arguments from both you and the appellee (the side arguing against your appeal). This gives you (and your lawyer) a chance to fully explain the arguments you made in your brief.
Potential Outcomes of a Direct Appeal
After the appellate court reviews your case, it will make a judgment.
The possible outcomes include:
- Affirm: This means that the appellate judges did not find a legal error with your original trial and allows the decision and sentence to stand.
- Modify: If the appellate court modifies the trial court’s decision, it will remedy certain parts of your trial that it deemed improper.
- Reverse: A reversal means that the appellate judges agree with your argument that a legal error occurred, and your conviction may be vacated. The appellate court could either enter a new judgment or send the case back to the trial court with instructions for remedying the error.
Experienced Legal Guidance from Start to Finish
The direct appeals process can be lengthy and complex, and successfully filing for this relief requires a thorough understanding of the law. At Patituce & Associates, our Cincinnati appellate lawyers will be by your side every step of the way, fighting for a second chance at justice.