If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offense, you’re probably feeling very overwhelmed and vulnerable. Receiving an unfair sentence can be another especially nerve-wracking experience. After hearing the jury’s verdict and the judge’s ruling, you might worry that the matter has been closed and your fate has been sealed. Fortunately, this is not the case. The court system provides criminal defendants with a number of options for appealing a conviction or its resulting sentence. These range from direct appeals to a higher court to a number of post-trial motions.
If you were convicted and sent to jail or sentenced to probation in Ventura, you will have the right to appeal both your conviction and sentencing at the same time. A successful appeal can completely change the outcome of your case. It’s possible that your conviction will be overturned or that your sentencing will be reduced. Because the stakes are so high for a criminal defendant, it’s always a good decision to seek the guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. A Ventura criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC has the capability and sophistication it takes to handle your criminal matter. Our attorneys use an aggressive and strategic approach to get the results to bring you peace of mind. To schedule a free consultation, call our offices at (805) 585-5056.
Appealing a Case for Legal Errors
Although it would be nice to think of the criminal justice system as being infallible, sometimes a court error can be your saving grace. Since court systems are so complex, occasional mistakes are inevitable and it’s in your best interest to have your attorney explore the possibility. If your attorney suspects that the case would have been decidedly different without the error, it is essential that you file an appeal. This type of court error is referred to “harmful” error. Some examples of harmful errors include: depriving the defendant of a lawyer; refusing to allow self-representation; a biased judge presiding over the case; denying the right to a public trial; and the discriminatory exclusion of potential jurors who are the same race as the defendant. If you were the victim of any of these errors, an automatic reversal is likely.
However, these types of errors need to be distinguished from “harmless” errors. A harmless error is one that the judge believes did not affect a substantial right of the defendant. If the case would have been decided the same way with or without the error, the judge will likely choose not to grant the appeal.
Appeals for Police, Prosecutor or Jury Misconduct
It’s also important to be on the lookout for acts of misconduct. Your right to due process of law is of critical importance and everyone involved in the case is required to act to protect your rights. If any of your rights were violated during the proceedings, such as your Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, you are entitled to appeal the decision.
It’s not only the police and prosecution who can be guilty of misconduct. Juror misconduct can take many forms, often including communication by the jury with those outside the trial or courthouse. A jury member might also bring outside evidence that they themselves found into the trial. Jurors are prohibited from considering any evidence that has not been presented by the judge or lawyers in the case, and doing so would render the jurors biased. In recent cases, social media has played a large part in providing jurors with this taboo information. Jurors have also been known to conduct experiments regarding theories of the case outside the court’s presence. Any of these behaviors by a jury member would be good cause to file an appeal in your criminal case.
Appeals for New Evidence
New evidence is a slightly more complicated defense. Technically, when your attorney files an appeal, the appellate court does not consider new evidence when it reviews the trial court’s decision. However, new evidence that would serve to exonerate you from the crime can of course be used in your defense—it’s just a different process. Rather than filing for an appeal from the trial court’s decision, your attorney will instead appeal by filing a petition for a new trial. This will allow the jurors at your second trial to hear the new evidence and consider it when deciding the verdict.
Ask a Ventura Criminal Defense Attorney
At The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our team of trusted Oxnard criminal attorneys brings over 22 years of experience to your case. Our aggressive approach and sophisticated practices have allowed us to craft effective legal strategies our clients in Ventura County for decades.
We have handled a vast variety of criminal cases and appeals, giving us the knowledge and confidence it takes to successfully resolve your matters. Call The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC for a consultation at (805) 585-5056 right away. We will keep your information confidential.