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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Appeals


Below are questions we frequently are asked concerning appeals. The answers are for general information and are not intended as legal advice. For further questions, contact a California appellate lawyer.

I have been convicted of a crime. What can I do about it?

With the help of your attorney, you can move for a new trial at the trial level or immediately appeal. If you move for a new trial, your attorney prepares a legal document called a brief in which the attorney points out errors which deprived you of a fair trial. Your attorney will cite court cases where the same point was addressed by appellate courts and how the courts ruled. Your attorney presents this to the judge who ruled in your trial and asks the judge to throw out the original decision and order a new trial. If this does not work, you can appeal the decision to the appellate court.

On what basis may my conviction be overturned?

Trials have to be conducted according to the rules of evidence as well as other state and federal law. Where the court makes a mistake in a ruling in your case or there is prosecutor or jury misconduct, your conviction may be reversed on appeal. The appellate court will not reverse for just any mistake, however. It will reverse only when the mistake was prejudicial to you depriving you of a fair trial.

I am currently in prison and the time for me to appeal has long since run out. I don't think my attorney tried hard to help me. What can I do?

You may contact an attorney to petition for a writ of habeas corpus on your behalf. You will be brought to court where your attorney will argue that your conviction should be thrown out based on inadequate legal representation and a new trial ordered. If the judge sees your case to have merit, he will order the prosecution to prepare a response and will set a hearing date to resolve the matter.

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