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Hiring a Lawyer for Criminal Appeals in Georgia

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If you have been convicted of a crime in Georgia, you may feel that the verdict was unfair. You think there were errors in the trial process that affected the outcome. In such cases, you have the right to appeal the conviction. However, appealing a criminal conviction is not a simple or easy process. You will need the help of an experienced lawyer who can guide you and present your case effectively to the appellate court. Here are some essential things about hiring an appeals attorney in Georgia.

What is a Criminal Appeal?

A criminal appeal is a legal process that allows a person convicted of a crime to challenge the trial court’s decision by asking a higher court to review it. The purpose is to argue that legal errors or constitutional violations affected the fairness or validity of the trial. Appeals can result in outcomes like affirming, reversing, or remanding the conviction.

How to File an Appeal?

Below, you can check the process to file an appeal:

  1. File a notice of appeal within 30 days of the judgment or the denial of a motion for a new trial, if applicable.
  2. Ask the trial court to prepare and send the case record to the appellate court, which includes all trial documents, transcripts, and evidence.
  3. Within 20 days, submit a written argument (brief) explaining why your conviction should be reversed or modified due to legal issues or errors.
  4. The prosecution will submit their brief within 20 days, arguing to uphold your conviction.
  5. An oral argument may be scheduled, but it’s not mandatory. It helps clarify the case and is usually granted at the court’s discretion.
  6. The appellate court will issue its written decision, typically a few months after receiving all briefs and, if applicable, hearing oral arguments.

Which Court Hears Appeals?

In Georgia, most criminal appeals are heard by the Georgia Court of Appeals, which comprises 16 judges who sit in panels of three or five. The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all felony cases except murder cases, which are appealed directly to the Georgia Supreme Court. The Supreme Court comprises nine justices who sit en banc, meaning all together. If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeals, you can ask the Supreme Court to review your case by filing a petition for certiorari. 

Hiring a Lawyer for Appeal

Appealing a criminal conviction is not something that you can do on your own. You will need a lawyer who specializes in criminal appeals and has extensive knowledge and experience in this area of law. A good appellate lawyer will be able to:

1. Review Your Case Thoroughly

A skilled appellate lawyer will thoroughly review your case and identify all possible grounds for appeal. 

2. Research and Analyze Relevant Laws

Your attorney will research and analyze relevant laws, precedents, and authorities to build a solid legal argument for your appeal.

3. Draft and File Persuasive Briefs and Motions

Your lawyer will draft and file persuasive briefs and motions that present your case effectively to the appellate court. These documents are critical in arguing why your conviction should be reversed or modified.

4. Prepare and Present Effective Oral Arguments

If an oral argument is scheduled, your lawyer will prepare and present compelling oral arguments, ensuring that they can answer questions from the judges and clarify legal issues.

5. Communicate with You Regularly

A reputable lawyer will inform you of your case status and communicate with you regularly, addressing your concerns and questions.

6. Advise You on Your Options and Chances of Success

Your attorney will provide honest and informed advice on your options and the likelihood of success in your appeal.

Conclusion

Hiring a lawyer for criminal appeals in Georgia is essential if you believe your conviction was unfair or influenced by legal errors. Criminal appeals are a legal process that allows you to challenge a trial court’s decision to rectify any legal mistakes or constitutional violations. The Georgia Court of Appeals or the Georgia Supreme Court typically hears these appeals, depending on the nature of the case. To navigate this complex process successfully, it is crucial to engage a skilled and experienced appellate lawyer who can review your case thoroughly, research relevant laws, and present compelling arguments.

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