Attorney Stephen Hall Modern, Effective Representation You Can Trust

Chicago Appellate Attorney

Working to Get a Guilty Conviction Reversed

In some criminal cases, legal errors can happen that result in a conviction and sentencing. Fortunately, the system recognizes that mistakes can be made and allows for an appeal of a final judgment. The process provides for a second chance at justice. If you were found guilty of an offense, you might be able to take your case to a higher court for review and potentially have the verdict or sentence reversed.

Filing an appeal is a complicated process that requires a firm grasp of the law. At The Law Office of Stephen F. Hall, we have extensive legal experience and can provide the skilled help you need to challenge a trial court’s decision. Our attorney is detail-oriented and will review relevant case law and scour every part of the initial court record to identify legal errors and grounds for appeal.

For dedicated legal service, call us at (312) 757-8204 or contact us online - free consultation!

What Is an Appeal?

An appeal gives you the opportunity to have a conviction or sentencing decision looked at by a higher court. You cannot seek to get an appeal because you are unhappy with the trial court’s judgment. There must have been a legal error during the initial proceedings that you feel affected the outcome.

The grounds for an appeal could include:

  • Error in interpreting the law: Because of the intricacies of the criminal justice system, a judge might apply the wrong laws to a criminal case, resulting in a guilty verdict.
  • Abuse of discretion: The judge has the power to make various decisions in a case, such as how the defendant is sentenced. Judgments made on prejudice or bias could result in harsher than necessary penalties.
  • Ineffective counsel: Defendants have the right to effective counsel. If they can show their trial attorney was incompetent, they may have reason to file an appeal.
  • Juror misconduct: Jurors must follow specific rules during trials. Illegal or inappropriate behavior could impact the results.
  • Evidence does not prove guilt: The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. However, if the judge allows or does not allow specific evidence, the jury might convict the defendant even if the burden is not met.

When you file an appeal, you are not requesting a new case. Instead, you are asking a panel of three judges to review the initial court record to determine whether or not the final judgment was made in error. Because of that, you are not presenting any new evidence to the appeals court. Your arguments are presented in a written document – called a brief – that details the reason you are challenging the decision.

Because appeals cases are based on written arguments, having a clear and compelling brief is crucial. Our Chicago attorney knows how to develop cogent documents that effectively present challenges to the initial verdict and/or sentence.

What Is the Appeals Process?

After a final judgment is made, the time in which to file a notice of appeal is short, and the deadline is strict. Filing of the notice of appeal triggers several other deadlines, including the filling of your brief.

The appeals court will review the prosecutor's and your briefs, as well as the initial court record, to determine whether or not the grounds you presented were apparent.

After its review, the appellate court could make any of the following decisions:

  • Affirm the lower court’s judgment: This means that the appeals court agrees with the initial verdict or sentencing, and you will be subject to that judgment.
  • Remand the case: When a case is remanded, it is sent back to the trial court with remedies for correcting errors, which often results in a new trial.
  • Reverse the decision: If the appellate court disagrees with the trial court’s judgment, it will overturn it.
  • Reverse the decision and remand the case: In this instance, the trial court’s verdict will be overturned, and the case will be sent back for legal errors to be corrected.

Get Help Challenging a Trial Court’s Decision

If you are looking to appeal your conviction or sentence in state or federal court, reach out to The Law Office of Stephen F. Hall. We know how to navigate the complexities of this process, and we will work hard toward obtaining a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Speak with us during a free case evaluation by calling us at (312) 757-8204 or contacting us online.

Contact Attorney Stephen Hall Today

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