Criminal Appeal Lawyers in Georgia

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Appeals are an important avenue through which to challenge a criminal conviction in Georgia. An experienced Atlanta criminal appeal lawyers can help you pursue legal options to have your case reversed.

The appeals process involves demonstrating to an appellate court that there were errors of law committed in your trial that led to an unfair verdict. These errors must directly relate to Georgia law and the circumstances surrounding your trial. Learn more.

Habeas Corpus

The writ of habeas corpus is a legal remedy for prisoners who claim they are unjustly incarcerated. Unlike an appeal (which is a post-conviction request for an intermediate appellate court to review the record of the trial and decide whether a mistake was made that warrants reversing the conviction and sending the case back for retrial), a petition for a writ of habeas corpus asks that the federal court examine the underlying facts in the criminal case and decide if there were constitutional violations that rendered the resulting conviction unenforceable.

The prevailing rationale for allowing convicted persons to raise such claims in a habeas proceeding is that a violation of the convicted person’s federal or Georgia constitutional rights rendered his or her conviction unenforceable. Typical constitutional claims include that the defendant was denied due process because the prosecution at his or her trial or plea hearing withheld exculpatory evidence, or that his or her conviction was based on an involuntary guilty plea.

Post-Trial Motions

Once a trial has been completed and a verdict has been rendered by the judge or jury, a defendant may file what is known as a post trial motion. In general, post trial motions are designed to address specific legal errors that occurred during the trial. If the court determines that the error was such that a miscarriage of justice would occur, the court can grant the motion and set aside the verdict.

Post-conviction motions must be filed within the appropriate deadlines. For example, a motion for a new trial must be filed within 30 days of the entry of judgment in the trial court (see OCGA SS 5-5-40(a)). Similarly, a motion to withdraw a guilty plea must also be filed within that same time frame.

However, the Supreme Court has recognized that a trial court out-of-time appeal procedure does not have the same statutory deadlines or statute of limitations as habeas, and therefore it is more difficult to establish a time limit for filing such motions. Moreover, the State can use a laches-like “prejudice” defense to motions for out-of-time appeal, as well as other post-conviction motions.

Criminal Appeals

A successful criminal appeal can get your sentence reduced or even overturned. However, you can only file an appeal if there was something that would have changed the outcome of your trial, such as new DNA evidence. It’s important that you have a lawyer who can properly analyze the case and identify solid grounds for an appeal.

A Georgia appeals attorney will review your case, the trial transcript, and more to determine if there were any mistakes made during your initial trial that could have had a substantial impact on your verdict. This can include prosecutor misconduct, jury bias, and other prejudicial errors during your trial.

If your appeal is denied by the Court of Appeals, your lawyer may suggest filing a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court of Georgia. However, this is a discretionary process and the Supreme Court doesn’t always agree to take on a case. This process is complicated and requires a lawyer with experience in this area of law.

Family Law

When a person files an appeal, the courts will review their case. If they find errors in the trial, they may overturn or modify the original decision. Appeals in family law are a little more complicated than other cases, and they should be handled by a lawyer who understands the complex issues involved.

Typically, you can file an appeal if the trial court made unfavorable findings in your case, failed to follow the law correctly or did not conduct a proper hearing. Appeals can also be filed in situations where the lower court wrongly decided your custody or support matters.

The appellate court will use specific standards to evaluate your case. The standard they choose will determine how much deference to give the trial court’s ruling. If there are egregious errors, the appellate court could decide that the trial judge abused their discretion when making their final decision. The trial court might also make a mistake that was so severe that it rendered their decision ill-formed.