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 could damage the accused’s case and skew the jury’s decision making. However, the decision is not the final word. A person who is subject to an unfavorable interpretation of the law has the right to file an appeal.
If you or someone you know wishes to file a criminal appeal for a prior conviction, then it’s within your best interest to find experienced legal representation. With the help of a skilled criminal appeals attorney you may be able to have your conviction overturned. A knowledgeable appeals attorney can dissect the trial evidence, decision’s made during the trial and do whatever possible to have your appeal granted.
Appeals Lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL
At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we fight for our clients at every level. Our West Palm Beach criminal appellate lawyers can represent you at trail and will 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 criminal defense 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.
Overview of Appeals in Florida
- What is a Direct Criminal Appeal in Florida?
- Examples of Issues That Could Be Raised During a Direct Appeal
- What is The Difference Between an Appeal and Post-Conviction Relief?
- Additional Resources
What is a Direct Criminal Appeal in Florida?
Appeals are a type of request for relief after a conviction from the appellate court. It’s the process of taking a case to a higher reviewing court to overlook errors that may have been committed previously in trial court. Every person in the United States has a right to file an appeal after a guilty verdict following a bench or jury trial. In Florida, you have 30 days to decide whether or not you’d like to pursue a direct appeal.
If you’re appealing a misdemeanor case from county court, the appellate court you will attend is your local circuit court. If you’re appealing a felony conviction from your circuit court, then your appellate trial will be held at the district court of appeals.
It’s important to understand that no new evidence is brought into an appellate case. The point of an appeal is to review the transcripts, evidence and other trial information for legal errors and misconduct. The relief that can be granted by an appellate case might include sending the case back to trial court to take corrective action, conducting a new trial entirely or vacating the sentence exonerating the defendant.
Examples of Issues That Could Be Raised During a Direct Appeal in FL
An attorney experienced in appellate court can raise multiple issues to question the verdict of a legal trial. Some common examples of issues that are raised during a direct criminal appeal include, but are not limited to:
- The sentence exceeded maximum punishment allowed by legislature, or the sentence was improperly enhanced as a Habitual Felony Offender or prison Release Re-Offender;
- The trial court erred when the jury instructions were given to the jury;
- The trial court determined an improper restitution amount after a hearing;
- The court made an incorrect ruling on a pre-trial issue such as a motion to suppress evidence or a motion to dismiss;
- The trial court erroneously failed to excuse a certain jury member who expressed a type of prejudice against the defendant or the case; or
- The evidence introduced at trail was considered insufficient to allow a finding of guilt
What is the Difference Between Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief?
Post-conviction relief is a procedure allowing the defendant to bring in more evidence and raise additional issues after a judgement has already been made on a case. A post-conviction relief case is different as it acts more like a post-trial motion than a direct appeal. The motion isn’t filed with the appellate court, but trial court. It’s normally used to address issues in the case that were unclear during trial.
A post-conviction relief motion is often filed after a lost direct appeal. If a defendant is granted post-conviction relief, then they may be released from custody, receive a new trial or have their sentence modified as a result. There are numerous issues an attorney can raise during a post-conviction relief motion including, but not limited to:
- New DNA evidence challenging the guilt of the defendant;
- Evidence of perjury;
- Juror misconduct;
- Prosecutorial misconduct;
- Ineffective assistance of counsel;
- Judgement violated state or federal laws;
- The sentence was more severe than the legislation allows;
- The court which oversaw the case did not have lawful jurisdiction to impose judgement;
- The defendant’s plea was not entered voluntarily; or
- Newly discovered evidence has challenged the prosecution’s case
Appeals FAQ | Palm Beach County Clerk – Visit the official website for the Palm Beach County Clerk and Comptroller to learn more about their appeals process. Access the site to find the appeals court contact information as well as answers to your frequently asked questions.
Appeal Laws in FL – Visit the official website for the Florida Statutes to read up more on their laws for appeals proceedings. Access the site to learn how long it take to file an appeal, what you need to file an appeal, how the proceedings work and other information.
Criminal Defense Appeals Lawyer in Palm Beach County, FL
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. Do what’s best for your future and contact us today.
Call us now at (561) 557-8686 for a skilled West Palm Beach criminal appeals lawyer. With our experience and years of practice, Meltzer & Bell, P.A. might be the right fit for you. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Wellington and Boca Raton.