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Can You Appeal a Case if You Involuntarily Plead Guilty?

In a criminal case, oftentimes a person will plead guilty or enter a plea of nolo contendere despite not being responsible for the crimes alleged. Prosecutors will threaten additional charges or decades of prison time unless a suspect agrees to a plea deal of guilty, or a defendant may not have the money to mount a meaningful defense. At times, a defendant’s attorney is completely ineffective in criminal cases, which may lead to a plea before trial, or the judge may incorrectly bar evidence that all but guarantees a conviction unless the suspect takes a plea deal in the case. If this has happened to you or a loved one, it is important to know that you still might have legal options for an appeal. To learn more about your appeal options, call or contact The Appellate Law Firm today.

When can a Guilty Plea be Appealed?

Courts are reluctant to overturn a criminal plea of guilty, but it is not impossible to do so in some cases. In criminal cases in which the defendant accepted a shorter sentence in exchange for a plea, the appellate courts often do not reconsider the case. However, if that guilty plea occurred because of significant errors in law or misconduct at the trial level, you may be able to appeal the case.

Errors in law refer to significant mistakes made by the prosecutor or judge at the trial level. This can include violations of search and seizure laws, errors in pretrial motions to include or exclude evidence, and more. Misconduct can include an ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and other illegal activity that prevented the defendant from receiving a fair trial. An appellate attorney must be able to show that the grievous mistakes occurred, and that but for these mistakes, the outcome could have turned out differently for the defendant at trial. 

How to Appeal a Guilty Plea

Not all guilty pleas can be appealed to the appellate court. Some plea deals contain language that prevents a defendant from appealing their plea if accepted, so it is important to review your plea deal before pursuing action. If you are able to appeal your plea, there is typically only a short window to do so. Oftentimes, this window can be as short as ten to 60 days after the submission of the plea in trial court. If the appeals window has passed, you may still have options to submit your appeal to the court. This usually involves drafting and submitting a writ of habeas corpus to seek relief.

Call or Contact Our Office Now

Appealing a case in which the defendant pled guilty or nolo contendere is difficult, but with an experienced appellate attorney by your side, you increase your chances at success. To learn more about your appellate legal options, call or contact The Appellate Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation of your case.