Appeals and Postconviction Attorney:
Criminal Lawyer Jason Cromey, Esq.
Just because you are convicted and sentenced does not necessarily mean that there is nothing left that can be done to help you. In Florida State Courts defendants have a right to appeal their judgment and sentence. Under Florida law, while rare exceptions may exist, a person only has 30 days to file their Notice of Appeal. For this reason it is very important that you contact an experienced appellate attorney to discuss what happened at the trial level and how to proceed quickly with your appeal. A successful appeal can result in various outcomes, such as a new trial, dismissal of the charges, a reduced sentence, or the overturning of convictions.
How does a criminal appeal work?
First, your Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of your being sentenced. Once the Notice of Appeal is filed the Clerk will begin putting together the Record on Appeal which will contain all relevant documents from the trial court file, along with a transcript of the relevant proceedings that are subject of the appeal, such as a hearing on a motion to suppress, the trial itself, or your sentencing hearing. Once the record is prepared a copy of it is provided to your attorney, the Office of the Attorney General, and the proper District Court of Appeal. Your attorney will then prepare an Initial Brief, a legal document that explains what occurred at the trial level, a statement regarding the facts of the case, the legal rulings that are being challenged, and an application of the relevant law to the unique facts of your case. Once this brief is filed with the appeals court the Attorney General then has the right to file an Answer Brief, presenting additional facts if they believe that to be appropriate, and responding to the arguments that your lawyer made in the Initial Brief. Finally, your attorney then has the opportunity to respond to the government's Answer Brief to shore up any loose ends that may need to be tended to. In certain cases there will be an Oral Argument before the appellate court. Once all this has taken place the Appellate Court will issue an Opinion containing its decision in the matter.
Keep in mind
Remember — typically, you only have the right to one appeal on the judgment and sentence in your case. It is important not to waste the opportunity to correct a mistake that was made at the trial level that could result in a second chance at trial, reduced sentence, or other relief. Contact our office today for a free consultation about your appeal rights, or those of a friend or loved one.
Post-Conviction Relief (3.850)
If you loose your appeal you are still not out of options. One possibility is that your attorney failed to provide you with effective representation. Examples of this are when an attorney does not properly investigate witnesses, your lawyer fails to make important objections or file important motions, when an attorney fails to present sufficient evidence at sentencing, or when a significant decision you made was based upon incorrect or incomplete advice from your lawyer. Other situations can involve the discovery of new evidence, among other things. In Florida you have 2 years from the date your sentence becomes final to file a motion for post-conviction relief. The procedural requirements can be complicated and is important to have an attorney who knows the law and the rules to be on your side. Contact us so that we can help you throughout the process.