If you were convicted for a criminal offense, you may still have another opportunity to fight your charges. Mistakes can happen during trials that lead to wrongful convictions and excessive sentences, and you have the right to question those errors.
Successfully challenging trial court decisions takes extensive knowledge and experience, and you will likely need qualified legal counsel to complete the appeals process. An accomplished Minnesota appeals lawyer could protect your rights and help you regain some, if not all, of your freedom.
Disputing Trial Court Results
If a defendant is not satisfied with the outcome of their trial, there is the possibility of appealing the verdict. However, convicted individuals cannot challenge judgments simply because they disagree with them. They need some legal basis, such as inappropriate evidence admission, incorrect jury charges, or improper application of sentencing guidelines, in order to file an appeal. An appellate attorney in Minnesota could help an individual determine the most effective avenue for contesting their conviction.
Filing an Appeal May Not Be the Next, Best Step
Moving forward with an appeal is not the only option available to criminal defendants. In some instances, the intermediary step of requesting a new trial may be a better option. Appellate panels decide cases based solely on the trial record. No new evidence, such as documents, witness testimony, or other facts, may be presented to the court. A new trial gives the accused another chance to be acquitted and to create a complete record. The appellate court will have all the facts of the previous trial to consider in order to determine whether the defendant should be convicted a second time.
Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure 26.04 establishes the grounds and process for requesting a new trial. Those found guilty must submit their motion for a new trial within 15 days of the verdict. A Minnesota lawyer who regularly handles post-conviction cases could help a defendant make an educated decision as to whether a new trial or direct appeal will yield the best result.
The Window for Filing an Appeal
The Minnesota Court of Appeals accepts appeals directly from the trial court without any need for a formal request before the trial judge. However, defendants must take action quickly because the law does not give them much time for filing a notice of appeal.
- Petty misdemeanors or misdemeanors: 30 days after sentencing
- Gross misdemeanors or felonies other than first-degree murder: 90 days after sentencing
- Post-conviction petitions: 60 days after the order denying the petition
First-degree murder cases appeal directly to the Minnesota Supreme Court, under Minn. R. Crim. P. 29.01, subd.1. A motion for a new trial before the District Court pauses these timeframes.
Appellate Hearings Are Different from Trials
Proceedings before an appellate court look very different from a trial. There is no presentation of evidence or witnesses or jury, and it is common for attorneys to never appear before the judicial panel. The court often decides cases based solely on written submissions called briefs. These lengthy and complex documents put forth each side’s legal argument and explain what trial mistakes occurred and how justice demands the appellate court resolve them.
Because appeals differ significantly from trials, those seeking review of their convictions should consider hiring a Minnesota attorney who regularly practices before appellate courts. When represented by a skilled legal professional, a defendant could have the best chance of persuading the court that the conviction or sentence was unjust.
Challenge Your Conviction with a Dedicated Minnesota Appeals Attorney
A criminal conviction may seem final, but it is not necessarily the last word on your case. You have the right to an appeal, and perhaps even to a new trial, but you must act quickly and with skilled counsel. Appellate practice is unique, so do not entrust your freedom to just any attorney. Select one of our tested Minnesota appeals lawyers to represent you as you fight for your future. Call today to learn more.