It is always the hope for a person accused of crime that everything at a trial or hearing breaks their way. However, a judge or hearing officer, in conducting his or her duties, must make important interpretations of the law. Some of those decisions may not be favorable to the accused. However, the decision is not the final word. A person who is subject to an unfavorable interpretation of the law has the opportunity to appeal.
At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we fight for our clients at every level. Our West Palm Beach criminal appellate lawyers can represent you at the trial and hearing, and continue representing you on the appellate level. We can also take your case on for an appeal if you were represented by another attorney at the trial or hearing.
We are experienced at the appellate level, both Florida and federal, submitting writs of certiorari and writs of prohibition. Our team of seasoned attorneys work zealously on your behalf to achieve the best result possible in your case. Also, our partners are available on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We represent people facing appeals from trials in Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County and Broward County, including people in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Greenacres, Delray Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Lake Worth Juno Beach, Belle Glade, Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens.
In any type of trial or hearing, such as a hearing over whether to suspend a driver’s license after a refused DUI test or for a protective order after domestic violence allegations, it is the judge’s or hearing officer’s job to make certain determinations of law.
The law in question may be the statutes or regulations that are passed by Congress, the Florida Legislature or appropriate law-making body. It may also be “common law,” which is law that is based on long-standing principles of justice, some dating back to England, that have been affirmed and have evolved through years of rulings by higher courts.
When issues present themselves in court, they may not fit neatly into what the code dictates, and circumstances may be different than those in a prior case when a matter was decided. The judge must use his or her understanding of these codes and prior cases to make a decision in the case in front of him and her.
However, his or her decision is not the last word. The issue may be appealed to a higher court.
In some cases, certain facts may exist that indicate the judge is not impartial. In such cases, his or her rulings may be challenged.
When a criminal case on an alleged violation of state law is tried, it is heard in a district court. In South Florida, those “districts” correspond with the counties in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Counties. If you are alleged to have committed a crime in Boca Raton, it will be heard in a district court in Palm Beach County, for example.
Any matters appealed from a district court goes to a Court of Appeals. There are five districts for appeals court in Florida. Palm Beach and Broward Counties are in the Fourth District, located in West Palm Beach. Miami-Dade County is in the Third District, in Miami. Matters appealed in the Court of Appeals are heard by the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.
Any matter appealed from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, which may be heard in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, are appealed to the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Atlanta. Matters appealed from there are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
If are subject to a negative decision by a judge or hearing officer, it does not have to be the last word. Having an attorney on your side that understands and is experienced in appeals can make a significant difference in your case. At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we have handled appeals for our clients and for others. Call us today at (561) 283-3259 for a skilled West Palm Beach criminal appeals lawyer.