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Understanding Criminal Procedure and Criminal Appeals in Alabama

What is a Criminal Appeal in Alabama?

During a criminal appeal in Wetumpka, the prosecution or defense asks a higher (appellate) court to review and either reverse or modify a lower (trial) court's decision. 

When a defendant is found guilty after a trial, they have a right to appeal the verdict. However, the prosecution cannot appeal an acquittal. Both sides can appeal a defendant's sentence, as well as any interim decisions made by a judge, such as the admissibility of certain evidence. 

Appellate courts are concerned with legal errors. They do not hear evidence or make findings of fact as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. An appellate court examines a trial for any potential errors in terms of procedure, the law that was applied, and how it was applied.

It's best not to navigate the criminal justice system on your own. You need an experienced attorney in Wetumpka who will fight for your rights. Call Stone & Britt, LLC, today at 334-517-6520 or contact us through our online portal to schedule a consultation.

Grounds for a Criminal Appeal in Alabama

The specific grounds of an appeal will vary from case to case. Ultimately, an appellant must show that the lower court made a substantial or material error during the trial, i.e., one that affected the outcome of the trial. 

Common grounds of appeal include:

Serious error of law

A defendant may file an appeal on the basis that the trial court made an error in how they applied the law to the facts, for example, if the judge gave incorrect instructions to the jury on a legal issue or miscalculated the sentence. 

Abuse of discretion

A trial judge has wide discretion when ruling on pretrial motions and legal issues that arise during a trial. A party can appeal an interim ruling that was clearly unreasonable, erroneous, or arbitrary, and unsupported by the facts or law. 

Ineffective counsel

A defendant has a constitutional right to adequate representation during their trial. If a trial lawyer's representation was so poor that it resulted in an unfair trial, this may provide a defendant with the basis for an appeal.  

Improper jury conduct

A defendant may appeal their conviction if a juror acted improperly during the trial or deliberations, for example, by speaking to a witness. 

Possible Outcomes of a Criminal Appeal in Wetumpka

After considering an appeal, an appellate court may:

  • Affirm the trial court's decision and uphold the conviction and sentence 
  • Reverse, or overrule, the trial court's decision
  • Remand, or return, the case to the trial court for a full retrial, resentence, or reconsideration of a specific aspect of the trial based on the appellate court's finding
  • Modify a sentence

An appellate court can also dismiss an appeal on procedural issues, such as a lack of jurisdiction. 

When to Hire a Criminal Appeals Lawyer in Wetumpka

Criminal appeals involve a highly specialized area of law. So, if you are considering appealing the outcome in your criminal trial, it's worth speaking to an experienced criminal appeals attorney. That's why you should call Stone & Britt, LLC at 334-517-6520 immediately to schedule a consultation.

Not only can we provide you with expert advice based on the specific circumstances of your case, but we can also review your trial with fresh eyes. This helps to identify all potential grounds of appeal in your matter. 

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We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.