How To Appeal a Felony in Georgia

If you want to learn how to appeal a felony in Georgia, Strickland Webster, LLC is the law firm to turn to. We have the resources you need. Give us a call today.

How Do I Appeal a Felony Conviction in Georgia?

 

Felonies are the most severe crimes under Georgia law. Offenses in this category include kidnapping, armed robbery, and murder. The penalties for such offenses upon conviction include imprisonment for at least a year or for life and sometimes the death sentence.

If you or someone you’re close to have been convicted of a felony offense in a Georgia trial court, you (they) could face these penalties and any other the court might impose. But it’s not the end of the road. You may still have the option of challenging the verdict, the sentence, or both in a higher appeal court.

The criminal appeal process typically begins by filing a notice of appeal at the trial court. The process is complex, but we have summarized some of the important details below to help you understand how it works.

When To Appeal a Felony Conviction

 

You can file a notice of appeal challenging your felony conviction, but you need good reasons to sustain the appeal. Otherwise, it would be dismissed.

Some of the common grounds for appeal include the following:

 

Mistakes at the Trial

Sometimes mistakes happen during the trial process. Such mistakes could include issues like:

  • Improper admission of evidence
  • Jury misdirection
  • Trial judge error.

If you can establish that such errors occurred, the appellate court will evaluate the effects of these errors on your case. Your conviction may be overturned if they believe you were found guilty based on those errors.

 

The Verdict in Your Case Was Unreasonable and Unsupported by the Evidence 

Occasionally, the verdict in a criminal case may be unjustified by the evidence submitted by the prosecution at the trial court. In such cases, the appeal court may reverse a guilty verdict if they find that there was insufficient evidence and the conviction should never have occurred in the first place.

 

Ineffective Legal Representation

Every defendant is entitled to the services of an attorney who would help with their defense during the trial. If the attorney failed to advise their client appropriately or their representation was deficient, it could be a ground for an appeal if the defendant is convicted.

What amounts to deficient representation varies with each case but may include instances where:

  • The lawyer failed to prepare the defense properly.
  • The lawyer failed to consider the defendant’s wishes about the case.
  • The lawyer did not interview witnesses.
  • The lawyer did not object to the admission of prejudicial or extraneous evidence in criminal court.

 

Miscarriage of Justice

That a miscarriage of justice occurred in your case is a good reason to appeal your conviction. A miscarriage of justice means that the trial’s outcome was unjust. Situations that could lead an appeal court to conclude that a miscarriage of justice occured include the following:

  • One of the jurors at the trial court was biased.
  • The defendant had a significant language barrier, and there was no effort to help them understand what transpired during the proceedings.

It takes skill to identify the grounds of appeal in each case. Get an Appeal Lawyer to help with the process to avoid mistakes.

Where Do You File Felony Appeals in Georgia?

 

Felony cases in Georgia are usually heard in the superior courts across the state. You’ll need to file the notice of appeal at the superior court, where the trial and conviction took place, to begin the process. The actual appeal will be heard at the Georgia Court of Appeals.

But if you received the death penalty after a felony conviction, your appeal would be heard and determined at the Georgia Supreme Court. 

Steps in the Felony Appeals Process

 

The steps in the appeal process are summarized as follows:

 

Filing the Appeal

File your notice of appeal at the trial court within 30 days from when you were convicted. The court will prepare the trial record and forward all relevant documents to the appropriate appellate court.

 

Docketing

Once the appeal court receives the complete record, the appeal will be added to the court’s docket.

 

Written Briefs

The parties to the appeal will be sent a docketing notice. As the appellant, you must file your written brief containing your arguments in support of your case within 20 days of receiving the docketing notice.  Your written brief is an opportunity for you to win the appellate court justices over. You may need help from an appeals attorney to prepare a brief that argues your case clearly and convincingly.

The respondent, in this case, the state will also file a brief in response to yours, and you can file a reply brief if necessary. After this, the appeal is scheduled for the hearing.

 

Hearing of the Appeal

At the hearing, the justices of the court will review the case and the documents filed and make a decision. They could affirm or reverse the trial court’s decision. They could also transfer the appeal if another appellate court has jurisdiction, dismiss it, or send it to the lower court for re-trial.

Do You Require An Appellate Lawyer?

 

Felony convictions are serious and could jeopardize the rest of your life. As such, it is important that you take the appeal process seriously.

While your felony appeal can proceed without a lawyer, you need all the professional help you can get at this point to avoid mistakes that could ruin your chances.

A federal appeals lawyer is an invaluable resource at this point. They understand what it takes to succeed with criminal appeals. They can help you prepare and file error-free documents, identify suitable grounds for appeal from the trial transcripts, and represent you throughout the appeal process.

They can also help you explore other alternatives, such as a motion for a new trial after your conviction if it is appropriate in your case.

Fighting a felony conviction is tough. Consider getting a skilled appeals attorney to share your burden and work towards your successful emergence from the criminal justice system.

 

Contact Experienced Georgia Appeals Lawyers at Strickland Webster, LLC

At Strickland Webster, LLC, we understand that it is difficult it is to deal with the realities of a criminal conviction. We are here to help you find and explore possible solutions in this trying time.

Our seasoned appeals attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals in their criminal appeals across Georgia. You can depend on us for quality legal advice and representation as we steer your case toward the desired outcome.

Do not hesitate to contact us right away to schedule an appointment and get started.