Austin Appeals Lawyer
Ensuring You Received a Fair Trial
Being convicted of a criminal offense might not be the last word in regards to your case. If you feel your trial at the lower court was not done properly, you have the right to challenge the judgment and potentially have it reversed or a new trial ordered. The process is called an appeal. An appeal requires that an argument be presented to a higher court, demonstrating that legal errors occurred during the initial proceedings that resulted in your guilty verdict and sentencing. If true justice was not served, you might prevail at the higher court.
At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, our Austin appeals attorneys are here to guide you through the complexities involved in getting the lower court’s judgment overturned. Backed by extensive legal experience, we know how to develop compelling briefs to present to the appellate court reviewing your case. Our firm is committed to providing the highest levels of legal representation. To that end, we will answer your questions about the process, help you understand what to expect, and will thoroughly review the trial court’s transcript and relevant case law to develop a cogent brief challenging the judgment or sentencing you received.
Grounds for an Appeal in Texas
In any criminal case, only you, as the defendant, have the right to appeal the trial court’s decision regarding its guilty verdict or sentencing. Your appeal must be based on legal errors made during the entire lower court’s proceedings. When you appeal a decision, you are asking the higher court to review the lower court’s judgment in light of an issue that occurred.
Because an appeal is not a new trial, you cannot present any new evidence or witnesses to support your assertions. The appellate court’s determination is based on the testimony and evidence admitted at trial and on written or verbal arguments that your attorneys will submit stating your claims, which will refer to relevant case law.
An appeal must be based on legal or procedural errors, such as:
- Constitutional violations
- Misinterpreting or misapplying the law
- Improperly instructing jurors
- Permitting inadmissible evidence
- Providing ineffective defense counsel
- Allowing prosecutor misconduct
- Wrongdoing committed by jurors
After reviewing the written or verbal briefs that it hears from both sides, the appellate court will decide whether the lower court did make errors in applying or interpreting the law. The appellate may reverse the lower court’s decision based on those facts. The errors must be important enough to have influenced the lower court’s decision; harmless errors that had no real bearing on the outcome will not be enough to win an appeal.
If the higher court validates the lower court’s decision or simply dismisses your appeal, your case will end there unless you wish to appeal to an even higher court. If the appellate court rules in your favor, it will likely send your case back down (remand) to the lower court for further action. The new action may be to order another trial, to take steps to modify the judgment or sentencing, or some other form of correction. Or the appellate court may reverse the lower court’s decision.
Appeals differ from trial cases in that more than one judge is involved, the case generally rests on how well briefs are written and oral arguments backed up, and is based on the record of the lower court’s proceedings.
Turn to Smith & Vinson Law Firm for Your Appeal
The appeals process is a complicated undertaking that utilizes a different skillset from an attorney. Our Austin appeals lawyers know how to file and write comprehensive legal briefs as well as make compelling oral arguments in such cases.
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