A criminal conviction can severely compromise your personal and financial interests. A guilty verdict for a criminal charge may result in a lengthy prison sentence and steep fines.
Several factors determine whether you can—or should—appeal your conviction. A prison sentence is motivation enough to initiate the appeals process, especially if the conviction is the result of a court error.
If you or a loved one wants to appeal a criminal conviction, it is imperative that you follow the procedures in place for this process. The Law Office of Eric M. Mark can help you avoid mistakes that may compromise your appeal. Call 973-453-2009 to discuss your circumstances with a passionate criminal attorney in Newark.
Here are four crucial steps to take when appealing a criminal conviction:
- File Your Appeal Correctly
The New Jersey Rules of Court clearly state that the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court in Trenton is responsible for handling appeals. This is where you must file your appeal.
Normally a panel of three judges will review your case. Written briefs and oral argument will be considered. The hearing may occur in Trenton or in other Appellate Courts throughout the state.
- File Your Appeal before the Deadline
You only have 45 days to file an appeal. If you are late, you may be unable to appeal your conviction.
The Appellate Division must receive your appeal before the deadline. While there is a chance of a 30-day deadline extension, it is extremely rare.
- Identify the Defect That You Are Appealing
In many cases, the convicted person is accusing the judge of making a procedural or legal error during the trial, and blaming that mistake for the conviction. If there was a mistake, the transcripts of your trial will reveal the cause of it.
Rarely does the Appellate Division agree to hear additional testimony or evidence, which means that the issues you are raising in your appeal must first go through the Law Division. That judge will decide the issue first, which is subject to review in the Appellate Division.
- File a Brief and request Oral Argument
You must file a brief that details and argues the legal issues in question. The state will file its own brief, as well.
Your brief will give the Appellate Division the information it needs to rule that a legal mistake occurred. After you file the brief, you should submit a request to make an oral argument, especially if you have additional information to help the court decide the appeal in your favor. If you do not make a request for an oral argument, the Appellate Division will use the arguments in both briefs to make its decision.
If you wish to appeal your conviction, or if you are unsure about whether you can or should, then call the Law Office of Eric M. Mark at 973-453-2009. An experienced criminal lawyer can help you identify the issues you need to raise in your appeal, ensure you meet the required deadlines, and explain your options.