Defendants who have been accused, convicted, and sentenced of white-collar crimes have the legal right to appeal the court’s decision, provided that the decision was not the result of a guilty plea. Appealing the decision of a court is an important legal concept that is essential to our form of Justice. But what happens when Justice gets it wrong?
Losing an appeal in Texas might feel like the end of the road, but it does not necessarily mean that your case is over. Knowing the options available can make it possible to keep defending yourself against the charge.
The Legal Grounds for Appeal
Once a criminal defendant has been convicted and sentenced by a district court, that defendant has the right to file an appeal to a higher court. The goal of the appeal is to convince the higher (appellate) court to review the decision of the lower court for mistakes and /or legal errors.
The appellate court can decide to either uphold, reverse, or modify the ruling of the lower court. If the original ruling is upheld, then the next step is petitioning the state Supreme Court, which is an uphill battle to say the least.
What to Do If You are Denied Appeal for a White-Collar Crime in Texas
The first step after losing a criminal appeal is filing a Motion for Rehearing. The purpose of this motion is to simply request that the appeals court reverse its decision. Usually, the Motion for Rehearing is not granted unless new circumstances or evidence has been brought to light.
If the motion is denied, then the defendant has 30 days to submit a Petition for Discretionary Review in the Texas Supreme Court. As the name suggests, this petition asks that the state’s Supreme Court review the decision. This 15-page petition should thoroughly declare why the case is special and why the appeals court decision should be overturned.
Filing a Petition for Review in the Texas Supreme Court is not a decision that should be taken likely. Both the defendant and their representation should take the time to review the merits of the appeal thoroughly, as the Texas Supreme Court is known to frequently award damages for appeals that they consider to be frivolous or unnecessary.
How Successful Are Appeals, Both in Dallas and at the Federal Level?
Because federal courts are directed to take cases with strong evidence that are easily prosecutable, many federal appeals cases are not winners. Even on the local level, very few lower court decisions are reversed on appeal.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 11.9% of state-level criminal appeals cases resulted in the reversal or modification of a lower court decision. On the federal level, only 2% of cases go to trial at all, making the number of federal appeals cases even smaller.
In Texas, a criminal appeals process is handled by the Texas Court of Appeals and can take from three to nine months depending on the facts of the case and how busy the appellate court is at the time.
Common Issues in Federal Criminal Appeal or Texas Criminal Appeal
If your appeal has been denied, then it is possible that your case for appeal simply was not strong enough. Specific arguments are required in order to make an effective appeal. Here are some of the most common issues raised in appeals court:
- Motion to Suppress Evidence
- Motion to Suppress a Statement
- Lack of Sufficient Evidence
- Inadequate Representation
- Incorrect Jury Instructions
- Prosecutorial Misconduct
- Juror Misconduct
- Excessive or Unlawful Sentence
Q: Is There a Time Period for Appeal in a Federal Case?
If your appeal has been denied and you are thinking about pursuing either a Motion for Rehearing, you only have 15 days to file it. If the motion is denied, you’ll have another 30 days to put together a Petition for Discretionary Review by the Texas Supreme Court.
The time period for appeals in federal cases is only 14 days after entry of judgment.
On both levels, the appeals process is complicated and should not be navigated without the help of an experienced legal team that is familiar with the entire process, from the initial district court all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court.
TX Broden Mickelsen Criminal Appeal lawyers
Texas Criminal Appeal Lawyers
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case.
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