Frederick Appeals Lawyer
Appellate lawyers play a vital role in the American criminal justice system. If a defendant is convicted of a crime and sentenced, that judgment could be appealed to a higher court where new judges can review the lower court’s decision.
Consider contacting a Frederick appeals lawyer if you have recently been convicted of a crime and sentenced. Mistakes may have been made at trial that may have undermined the validity of your sentence or conviction, and a criminal defense attorney who works with appellate litigation could be a powerful ally if you believe that justice was not correctly carried out.
The Maryland Criminal Appeals System
A criminal case in Maryland could be handled in a number of different courts, depending on various factors. A knowledgeable Frederick appeals attorney could offer further guidance about how the appellate process may change when appealing cases in different courts.
Each county in Maryland and the city of Baltimore has at least one District Court where certain criminal cases and civil disputes are heard. Traffic violations, misdemeanors, and certain felonies are handled at the District Court level. A conviction in District Court gives rise to an automatic right to a de novo appeal in Circuit Court.
All Maryland counties and Baltimore have a Circuit Court that generally handles serious criminal cases, major civil disputes, and matters of divorce or child custody. Anyone convicted of a crime in District Court has a right to de novo review in Circuit Court, meaning that the trial will essentially occur again with all evidence being freshly reviewed by a judge or jury.
Court of Special Appeals
In Maryland, a ruling from a Circuit Court can be appealed to the Court of Special Appeals. This court will not accept new evidence but instead bases its ruling on findings of fact contained in transcripts, exhibits, and other records produced in Circuit Court proceedings.
Court of Appeals
The highest appellate court in the state is called the Court of Appeals. This court generally only reviews criminal convictions of significant importance.
Important Issues Pertaining to Appealing a Criminal Conviction
While the appellate process gives convicted individuals the opportunity to have their cases reviewed for error, many rules exist governing how appeals can happen. An appeals lawyer in Frederick could help a defendant navigate the state appellate system and avoid pitfalls that may potentially reduce their chance of a favorable outcome.
Anyone wishing to appeal a criminal conviction or an unfavorable appellate ruling regarding a conviction has only 30 days to file that appeal. An appeal must be filed within that time window at the court where the sentence or ruling was handed down.
Record on Appeal
With the exception of de novo reviews in Circuit Court, an appellate court in Maryland will confine its analysis to facts established at the trial court level. Only in limited circumstances can the trial court record be expanded on appeal—for example, if a defendant is claiming ineffective assistance of counsel as a ground for overturning a conviction.
Contact a Frederick Appeals Attorney Following a Criminal Conviction
Being convicted of even a minor criminal offense can have consequences. Beyond punishment for the crime itself, which can include jail time, having a criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, obtain a student loan, or vote.
Criminal appellate practice is a highly specialized legal discipline in which even a small oversight or mistake can spell dire consequences for a client, so it is usually important to partner with a Frederick appeals lawyer who is highly experienced at handling criminal appellate matters. Call today to explore your legal options following a criminal conviction.