Being arrested and charged with a crime is stressful, frightening, and all-around overwhelming. Of course, you have a right to protect yourself against a false or unsubstantiated criminal charge. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, criminal courts in Washington do not always get things right.
This raises an important question: What are your options if you are found guilty of a criminal offense in Washington? The short answer is that you have the right to appeal—but you need to act quickly. Here, our Washington criminal appeals lawyer explains the key things to know about challenging a guilty verdict.
You Have the Right to Appeal a Guilty Verdict
First and foremost, it is important to re-emphasize that you have the right to appeal a criminal conviction in Washington. If you were found guilty of a criminal offense, you can challenge a clear and obvious error made by the judge or jury on appeal. Courts make mistakes. The appellate process gives defendants an opportunity to get justice.
Not a New Trial: An Appeal Gives You an Opportunity to Rectify an Error
To be clear, an appeal is not a new trial. You should not simply file an appeal because you did not like the decision. Instead, a criminal appeal is a chance to seek a remedy for an error made by the court. In Washington, criminal appeals are generally filed on one of the following three grounds:
- The trial court made a clear error;
- The trial was not conducted in a fair manner; or
- Your rights as a defendant were violated.
If you are deciding whether or not you should file an appeal, it is important to carefully consider the grounds that you have to justify your argument. Appeals can be time-consuming and costly. You need to get it right. An experienced Washington criminal appellate attorney will help you build a strong, compelling case.
An Appeal is Not Automatic in Washington: Immediate Action is Required
Your guilty verdict will not be automatically appealed to you. If no action is taken, then there will be no appeal. This is a highly time-sensitive matter. There are short deadlines to initiate the appeals process in a criminal case in Washington. As explained by the Washington State Courts, a notice of appeal must typically be filed within “30 days after the entry of the decision of the trial court.”Do not wait to get started with your appeal. Protect your rights by taking a proactive approach.
Experienced Washington Criminal Appeals Attorneys
At The Appellate Law Firm, our Washington criminal appeal lawyers have the professional skills and legal expertise that you need to protect your rights. Our firm will help you fight to fix a miscarriage of justice. If you have any questions or concerns about appealing a guilty verdict, we can help. Call us now or connect with us online to set up a fully confidential initial consultation. With an office located in Seattle, we handle criminal appeals throughout Washington.