What Are Your Appeal Rights and How Should They Be Used?

An appeal is very different from a trial, which is just one reason that appellate courts are confusing to many. During an appeal, the attorneys are gathering information about whether or not a legal error occurred during the trial. It’s normally all done in writing, and almost never involves revisiting the facts of the case or presenting new evidence. Appeals aren’t easy to do, with complicated rules and restrictions that can be difficult to navigate.

How It Works

An appellate attorney needs to be retained within 10 days of the ruling, where they’ll file a notice of appeal. It’s not unusual for the actual appeals process to take more than a year. Even technology will only help so much, as each claim needs to be carefully reviewed. The case essentially lives and dies with the quality of the brief, which is the written document that argues and provides evidence for the alleged error (with proper citations of course.) An extremely tiny percentage of cases involve oral arguments to the judges. The defense will do the same, arguing that no error occurred.

The person appealing the decision will generally have the opportunity to respond to each point of the defense’s brief (called a reply brief.) If you win, you are generally given a brand new trial, essentially starting from scratch. Sometimes you may be given a better plea deal. If you lose, there are ways to contest the situation, however the courts will throw up even more roadblocks in an effort to stop endless repeals.

Tips to Know

Everything submitted must be on time and follow court guidelines. Each statement must be carefully worded so the facts aren’t misconstrued or lost in a meandering argument. If done correctly, there’s a better chance that it will either be won outright or give the attorney the right to orally argue their point – providing further clarity and passion to the fight. In this case, the attorney will typically address three judges at the same time. The costs of all this can be quite expensive, and a particularly painful financial blow after paying for a trial. There’s no doubt that the rewards of reversing the decision may be entirely worth the effort though.

Someone Who Can Help

It’s extremely important you’re able to get an attorney who understands the ins and outs of appeals, as just one mistake can set the process back or cause you to lose. Perfect writing, practiced speeches and persuasive know-how are really just the start of it all. A lawyer is trying to prove that the district court originally trying the case both knew of the error, had ample time to fix the error, and did not. It’s not an easy task, and takes someone with experience in the appellate courts to accomplish.

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The Nolan Law Firm