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Conviction not always the final word of the court

Life is full of surprises, not all of which are pleasant. If you're currently facing trouble with the law in Indiana, you likely agree with that statement. No matter what events transpired that landed you in your current situation, remembering that you always have rights and can maximize all options available to affect the outcome of your case toward your favor as much as possible may help alleviate some of the stress your circumstances have caused.

The criminal justice process is often complicated. Delays, postponements and other issues may extend the time it takes to fully adjudicate your situation. When you think back to events that unfolded that led to your arrest, it may seem like an entire lifetime ago. Since then, your circumstances probably negatively affected other areas of your life. If the court winds up handing down a conviction, your personal and professional life will change even more.

Conviction doesn't always equal the end of the road

When you hear the word "conviction," it may evoke feelings of finality. However, when you're charged with a crime and convicted in court, there may be grounds to appeal the court's decision. In some cases, this leads to a new ruling that overturns the earlier decision. These basic facts typically apply to such situations:

  • No matter what charges you faced, if you believe there was a legal error of some sort, you can launch a conviction appeal.
  • You may also appeal a sentence handed down after conviction.
  • When claiming error in the criminal justice process, you must also convince the court that the error that occurred affected the outcome of your case.
  • A lower court turns to a higher court to review a particular decision and issue a ruling when someone files an appeal.
  • One of the most frequently appealed situations involves convictions rendered after an attorney has submitted a pre-trial motion to challenge evidence or process, such as alleged unlawful searches and seizures.
  • A time limit usually exists regulating when you can file an appeal.
  • Prosecutors have the opportunity to submit written briefs to the appellate court as to why they believe the initial court ruling is appropriate.

If a prosecutor files a written brief, those appealing usually have a chance to submit a rebuttal. There are often more than one appeal. Although state laws vary, the process typically follows a protocol where the next highest court hears the appeal. If the appellant loses the appeal, his or her appellate attorney can file a new appeal in the next highest court, and so on, until all options are exhausted.

Appealing a conviction and/or sentence is time consuming and often arduous. An Indiana criminal lawyer experienced in appeals may be able to help expedite the process, while acting within a defendant's best interests.

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