Chicago Criminal Appeal Lawyer

Criminal courts are in place to bring about justice. However, the courts are not perfect in their administration of justice. Mistakes are common, and when it comes to handing down sentences and penalties, mistakes can be costly. If you believe you were convicted of a crime in error, you should hire a Chicago criminal appeal lawyer from O’Meara Law.

A judge’s punishment will likely affect the rest of your life. An error in the judicial system can cause you to unnecessarily pay thousands of dollars in fines or spend decades behind bars. You’ve likely heard of innocent people being charged with crimes they did not commit. Don’t let this happen to you. By appealing your conviction, you may get a chance at a new trial, and a new verdict.

To learn more, call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706 for a free consultation with an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer.

What Are the Possible Grounds for Appeal?

You can’t appeal a conviction merely because you don’t like the terms. Your appeal must be brought to the appellate court based on one of these four grounds:

  1. The lower court made a plain error of law. This is an error that affects your substantial rights. A common type of plain error is when a judge miscalculates the sentence.

  2. The lower court abused its discretion. Judges have a lot of power and authority, and at times, they abuse their roles. Judges tend to have their biases and these preconceived notions can cause them to sentence someone too harshly. If the judge does not follow standard sentencing guidelines for a case, then an appeal may be able to reduce your penalties.

  3. You claim ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment. If your defense lawyer was unknowledgeable about the process or otherwise ineffective, you may be able to appeal your sentencing. However, you must be able to prove that these failures directly contributed to an unfair trial.

  4. The weight of the evidence does not support the verdict. In some cases, judges allow or disallow critical evidence that can change a ruling significantly. This ground is difficult to maintain in an appeal, since the appellate court is basing their decision on a transcript and is not seeing the actual evidence or hearing the witness testimony.

Process for Filing an Appeal

If you want to file an appeal, time is of the essence. You have 30 days from your guilty verdict (whether by judge or jury) to file a motion for a new trial. This motion must be based on one of the grounds for appeal listed above and sent to the appropriate court.

A judge will then review your appeal based on your motion to appeal, the prosecution’s response, and the court transcript, which will include testimony and evidence.

Eventually, you may have the opportunity to present a second brief or participate in an oral argument in order to refute any statements from the appellate court judge. Although you must file an appeal rather quickly, it could take several months before your appeal is heard and a decision is made.

If the appellate court approves your motion to appeal, it will typically schedule a new trial for you in the circuit court. If it is denied, you will be forced to carry out the terms of your original sentence.

If you plan to file an appeal, make the decision immediately following your sentence and hire an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer right away to get your case started.

How O’Meara Law Can Help

If you’re considering an appeal, you need to be committed to meeting the deadlines and requirements. The appeals process is long and complex, so you should carefully weigh your options with the help of an experienced lawyer before you start down this path.

To help ensure you get the best outcome possible, you need strong and effective criminal defense team on your side. Chicago criminal appeals lawyer Michael O’Meara understands the appeals process, and has built his reputation on his ability to get results for his clients.

If you want to determine if your case qualifies for an appeal O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706 for a free and confidential consultation.