If you’ve been convicted of a crime in Texas, you should learn how to file an appeal so that you have a chance of getting your conviction overturned. After all, if there is any possibility of getting a second chance on your case, you may want to take it, especially once you have a trusted criminal defense lawyer on your side. But before you start an appeal, you should learn the basics of how to get a conviction overturned through the Texas criminal appeals process.
How to File an Appeal in a Criminal Case in Texas
If you want to begin the criminal case appeal process, start by letting your defense lawyer know. He or she will help you with the first step, which is to file a Texas notice of appeal form for your criminal case. You’ll have to file this with the court where you received your conviction. This form will let the court know you intend to appeal the outcome of your case. You will need to file your notice of appeal within 30 days of your sentencing date.
If you’re unsure of any deadlines or court requirements during the Texas criminal appeals process, you can look to your criminal defense lawyer for guidance. If you don’t have one who is experienced with an appeal like yours, federal criminal appeals lawyer Seth Kretzer can give you the representation you need.
Understanding What a Federal Appeal Court Does
Some people look at the federal appeals process as a chance to retry their case and have another shot at a not guilty verdict. In actuality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Attorneys will not stand in the courtroom and argue over the facts of the case. New evidence pertaining to the alleged crime isn’t introduced. In fact, the federal criminal appeals process is often little more than the filing of paperwork with the court.
In these filings, your Houston federal criminal lawyer will try to prove that the original order or sentence of the convicting court did not follow appropriate legal procedures. If the conviction is based on a false arrest or improper search warrant, for instance, the verdict can be appealed on a legal basis. The exclusion of evidence, improper jury instructions, and ineffective counsel are also grounds for an appeal.
The Deck is Often Stacked
If you were convicted of a federal criminal charge, it’s likely that the deck was always stacked against you. The Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, for instance, protects citizens from being prosecuted more than once for the same crime. Of course, this only applies to “sovereigns.”
So in theory, you could be prosecuted by the state government for a crime listed in their law books, and if you’re found not guilty, the U.S. Government could immediately charge you with the same crime on a federal level. Football player Michael Vick, for instance, was sentenced to nearly two years in prison for dog fighting. During this time, Virginia charged him with the same crime – which he pleaded guilty to.
The Process of Filing a Federal Criminal Appeal
If you’re convicted of insider trading, mail fraud or any other type of federal crime, you will want to act immediately. While your appeal can take some time to go through, the “notice of appeal” must be filed within 14 days of your verdict being issued. This is simply a formal document that alerts the state courts that the conviction or sentence will be appealed.
At this point, your attorney will file the appropriate paperwork making the legal argument that the lower court acted improperly in their duty. Unfortunately, federal criminal appeals take time. It’s an overburdened system, and the judges involved in it typically only review one case at a time. This ensures your case is given the appropriate attention, but it makes for a slow process.
While many appeals are decided strictly through paperwork, the court can also allow your attorney to make an oral argument. This is ideal since a legal professional can better explain your case and answer potentially difficult questions from the judges involved. At the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer, we have handled dozens of federal criminal appeals cases, so regardless of how your case is argued, you’ll have experience on your side. Contact us today and we’ll work to get your life back on track.
Texas Criminal Appeals Process
Once you file your notice of appeal with the court, your criminal defense lawyer will file a brief. At that point, the state of Texas can file a response to the brief, which may explain why the court should deny your appeal. Then the panel of judges at the appellate court will review the case to decide if you deserve a chance to appeal. If so, the judges will review details, such as the court transcript and your appellate brief, to determine if your conviction has evidence to support it.
How Long Does a Criminal Appeal Take in Texas?
The Texas criminal appeals process typically takes several months to complete, and it may even take years, depending on the facts of your case and how busy the appellate court is. It can take three to nine months just for the judges to receive and review the different briefs filed by both you and the state. Then they typically take up to six months to discuss the case and make a decision before issuing their opinion. So expect to wait at least six months to a year for a decision on your pursuit of post-conviction relief in Texas.
How Many Appeals Can You Have?
Generally, you can only appeal your case once. But your appeal may move back and forth from one appellate court to another, so it could have several phases over the years. As you can see, the criminal case appeal process can be unpredictable, which is why you need legal guidance from Houston federal criminal defense lawyer Seth Kretzer.
What Is an Appeal Bond in Texas?
The lower court often requires a criminal appeal bond in Texas when the defendant files his or her intent to appeal the ruling. Also referred to as a supersedeas bond in Texas, this type of bond guarantees that the judgment against you will eventually be paid if you end up losing the appeal. If you don’t post an appeal bond, the plaintiff can request payment for the judgment within two weeks.
Now that you know how to appeal a criminal conviction or sentence in Texas, it’s time to talk to a federal criminal defense attorney who can help you.
Contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer today to find out more about criminal appeals in Texas and get specific answers regarding your case.