No system of criminal justice is perfect. The U.S. Justice system is certainly no exception. But, one of the aspects of our criminal justice system that makes it superior to the rest is the system of checks and balances that are in place to protect the citizen accused. In Texas, there are trial courts, intermediate courts of appeal, and our high court, the Court of Criminal Appeals.
A criminal conviction can be subject to reversal for any number of reasons. Often, the issues that could lead to reversal are nuanced legal issues that can only be identified by an experienced professional. Rick Oliver Attorney at Law has the knowledge and experience needed to identify and present complex legal issues to the appropriate appellate court for meaningful review.
When a judgment of conviction is entered by the trial court the clock begins to tick immediately. The first decision you will need to make will be whether you should file a motion in the trial court asking for a new trial. The "Motion for New Trial" is much more than simply a request that the trial court give you a second bite at the apple. The Motion for New Trial is an opportunity for your appellate lawyer to introduce information into the record that might not otherwise be included. This is an important consideration because the appeals court that ultimately reviews the case can only consider issues that were included in the record. There are a number of issues that should be developed in a hearing on a motion for new trial.
Alternatively, and depending upon the individual facts and circumstances, it might make more sense to simply file your Notice of Appeal and prepare for direct appellate review. Either way, what is important to understand is that appellants have only 30 days in which to make that very important decision.
Overall, this is the thing to understand about a criminal appeal: you cannot simply appeal a conviction because you believe the jury got it wrong. Juries are fact-finders. They determine the who, what, when, where, and how, of a case. Generally, appellate courts will not overturn the juries determination of the facts. So, that's the bad news. The good news is that just about everything else is subject to potential appellate review. This can include the things your lawyer did or did not do, the things the attorney for the state did or did not do, and the things the judge in the trial court did or did not do. There are innumerable potential issues that can be raised on appeal.
But, the appeal is not the place to introduce new information. This is probably the single most difficult concept for lay persons to understand. But, appealable issues must be "grounded in the record." Essentially, what that means is that whatever issue is to be contested must have been contested on the record. The record is simply the trial transcript. So, if there is an issue you believe should result in a new trial or a new hearing on punishment, call Rick Oliver Attorney at Law before it's too late to file a Motion for New Trial (which is the vehicle that can be used to introduce your issue in to the record so that it can be raised on appeal).
Your case may also be reviewed by the Court of Criminal Appeals, but it selects which cases it hears, so a request for review is not a guarantee that your case will be looked at by this body.
In some cases, people may be granted bail while they are waiting to be granted a new trial or have their case reviewed for appeal. So long as you have not been sentenced to 10 years or more in prison (or convicted of certain offenses that are non-bailable on appeal), you may be able to successfully petition for bail and avoid spending time in jail while your requests are being considered.
It is important to note that you only have a limited time to appeal your case. According to Texas state law, you only have 30 days following sentencing to file a Motion for New Trial or a Notice of Appeal; however, you can still file a Notice of Appeal 90 days after a Motion for New Trial. Either way, time is not on your side, which is why Rick Oliver Attorney at Law will review your case quickly and help you determine your best course of action for overturning a conviction.
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