If you or your loved one was arrested and charged with a felony, you are certainly not alone. The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reports that approximately 250,000 felony charges are filed in the state each year. A conviction on a felony charge can be life-changing. It could cost a person their rights and their freedom. 

Of course, courts are by no means perfect. A setback in defending yourself or your loved one against a felony charge is not the end of the road. At The Appellate Law Firm, we have extensive experience handling felony criminal appeals in California. Here, our California criminal appellate law attorney highlights five key things that you need to know about appealing a felony conviction. 

#1: You Have an Unequivocal Right to File a Direct Appeal of a Felony Criminal Conviction

First and foremost, it is important to clarify that you have a clear, legally protected right to appeal a felony criminal conviction in California. Being charged with a felony offense is a very serious matter. If the court made an error, you are not out of options. You can challenge the conviction. The process of appealing a felony conviction is complex and requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorney will review the case and pinpoint the grounds for appeal. 

#2: There is a 60 Day Deadline to File a Notice of Appeal for a Felony Case

You cannot appeal a criminal conviction indefinitely. The Judicial Branch of California explains that there is a 60-day time limit to preserve your right to appeal a felony conviction. This is done through the filing of a Notice of Appeal. There are certain requirements that must be met in your Notice of Appeal. However, you do not need to submit your entire case when you submit a notice.

Note: A person convicted of a felony in California may be entitled to bail/bond while their appeal is pending. An appellate law attorney can help you or your loved one file a motion for bail/bond. 

#3: You Must Cite Specific Grounds to Appeal the Conviction

You cannot successfully appeal a felony criminal conviction in California on the generic grounds that the verdict was “unfair” or that the court was “wrong.” As part of your appeal, you must be prepared to cite specific grounds to challenge the decision. The grounds for a successful criminal appeal in California are relatively narrow. You will need to prove a material error by the trial court, such as a procedural violation or a misapplication of the law. Appeals are handled primarily on paper in California. Your appellate brief—which should be prepared by a qualified criminal appeals lawyer—will be the foundation of your case. 

#4: An Appellate Court is Limited to the Trial Record

In felony criminal appeals in California, the court will typically not hear any new evidence. There are very limited exceptions. Instead, the appellate court is largely limited to reviewing and evaluating the trial record. For this reason, it is important that your appeal rights are considered as part of your overall criminal defense strategy. It is crucial that issues are properly raised and preserved. 

A Successful Appeal Does Not Necessary Mean the Case is Over

What happens when you successfully appeal a felony conviction in California? The answer depends on a number of different factors, including the reason why you won your appeal. For example, imagine that you won because the trial court improperly excluded relevant, material evidence from the case. You may be granted a new trial. The prosecution may or may not decide to move forward with the case again. The state could even drop the charges outright depending on the nature of the evidence. However, the state could opt to proceed with a new trial. Alternatively, imagine that you successfully appealed a felony criminal sentence on the grounds that a court failed to comply with California state guidelines. Your appeal could lead to a re-sentencing before a different judge. 

Contact Our California Felony Appellate Lawyer Today

At The Appellate Law Firm, our top California criminal appellate attorneys advocate tirelessly for justice. If you have any concerns about appealing a felony conviction, we are here as a resource. Reach out to us by phone now or send us a direct message to arrange your completely confidential initial consultation. We provide criminal appellate law services all over California, including in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sacramento. 

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Do you or a loved one have a trial case that you wish to appeal? If so, call the office or contact us at The Appellate Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation of your case and learn more about how to increase your chances of success with your appellate case.

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