Before deciding to hire a criminal appeals lawyer in Bloomfield Hills or anywhere else, these are the five most important things that you should understand about criminal appellate cases.
- Criminal Appeals are Different Than Trials – And So Are Criminal Appellate Lawyers
A criminal appeal is not a retrial of your case. You cannot merely appeal your case because you are mad about the income. Criminal appellate cases are very narrowly focused on determining whether there was a mistake made in the trial court that was significant enough to impact the judge or jury’s decision.
The vast majority of the work that goes into an appellate case is preparing a brief. Therefore, what you need in a criminal appellate lawyer is often much different than what you need in a trial attorney. Some of the most critical skills for your Bloomfield Hills criminal appeals lawyer should have include:
- Strong writing ability
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to draw parallels and differentiate between cases
- Ability to craft convincing arguments
It is also essential to understand that you will generally not be providing additional evidence during the appellate process. Instead, the majority of attention will focus on what is in the “record.” Therefore, it is important that your trial lawyer preserved issues for appeal by making proper objections during the trial. Before you agree to pursue an appeal, you should discuss what issues you may be able to appeal, if any, based on the record.
- Criminal AppealsTake a Long Time
If you think it took a long time to get to your trial date, be prepared to wait even longer for a decision on a case that is appealed. If you do not want to have to wait this long, you may need to consider whether or not you actually want to go through with a time-consuming, yet slow-moving process like a criminal appeal. Appellate courts are often crowded with cases, and it takes time for them to go through each individual case and claim. A good appellate judge will carefully read, research, and consider the arguments lawyers make in their appellate briefs before rendering a decision.
- Most Appellate Cases Are Decided on the Brief Your Criminal Appeals Lawyer Prepares
In the vast majority of appellate cases, the case is decided on the brief, which is why it is so critical to have a Bloomfield Hills appellate lawyer with strong writing skills. The brief identifies the errors that were made on the trial level and tries to persuade the court to either reverse the decision or remand the case back to the trial level. Appellate lawyers do this by pointing to existing case law as a precedent that the judges should follow or by differentiating your case from those cases to show why the precedent should not be followed.
While most appellate cases are determined by the written brief alone, some are decided after oral arguments. Oral arguments are an opportunity for the lawyers to verbally present their argument to the appellate judges and to answer questions they may have about the case or why they should change their decision. Having a lawyer who has successfully been granted oral arguments and who is an experienced oral advocate may be the defining factor in whether or not your case is resolved in your favor.
- Criminal Appeals Lawyers May Be Expensive
Criminal appellate lawyers are not out to drain you of your money. However, the appellate process is often expensive. Your lawyer must order trial transcripts and review thousands of pages of evidence. Expert witnesses may need to be consulted. Your attorney may have to pay additional staff to help prepare the brief and research the case. There are also filing fees and other costs built into the process that you will be responsible for paying for. It is important to understand the potential cost of an appeal and how your lawyer will expect you to pay for them. There is often a distinction between payment for costs, such as the cost of the transcript and filing fees, and attorney fees, which is usually the amount you pay for your attorney’s time and effort into your case.
- Criminal Appeals Lawyers May Make Multiple Appeals
If you do not receive the decision you want from your appeal, there are higher levels of appeal that you may consider. Sometimes, a case is not decided in a defendant’s favor until it is taken all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, so you may have the option of continuing to appeal your case, but you should also have a solid understanding of what this will entail and cost. There may also be other post-conviction relief that you can request, such as habeas corpus relief. Talk to your lawyer about what options are available to you based on your particular case and situation.