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Appeals Process

Both defendants and prosecutors in Washington may appeal certain verdicts and orders in criminal cases when it appears as though the trial court acted in error or there was an issue in the evidence presented or not presented at trial. At the Appellate Law Firm, attorney Parker focuses on the appeals process, and he will advocate for your freedom and interests in bringing an appeal on your behalf in your Washington criminal law case.

Appeals Brought by the Defendant

The defendant in a criminal case in Washington has a right to appeal any final judgment in the case. This would include a guilty verdict on any or all charges brought against the defendant. A defendant can also appeal from orders:

  • granting or denying a motion for a new trial
  • granting or denying a vacation of judgment
  • arresting or denying arrest of a judgment

While a defendant can appeal with the objective of having the charges dismissed or obtaining a not guilty verdict, he or she may also seek a reduced sentence through the appeal.

The steps involved in bringing an appeal by a defendant are:

  • Notice of Appeal: The defendant must file a notice of appeal with the appellate court having jurisdiction over the matter within 30 days of the criminal court judgment.
  • Filing of Briefs: Both the defendant and the government must file briefs with the court. The defendant will lay out his or her arguments explaining the grounds for the appeal and what result the appellate court should reach. Prior to filing, the appellant should also procure the record on appeal, which usually consists of the clerk’s papers of the filings in the trial court, as well as the reporter’s transcripts of the court hearings that are so reported.
  • Oral Argument: Both the defendant and the government will appear before the appellate court and present their arguments on appeal orally to the court, and the judges may ask questions of both parties.
    Decision: At some point after oral argument, the Appellate Court will reach its decision.

Appeals Brought by the Government

In some cases, the government can appeal your criminal case in order to attempt to get a different result than the one at trial. Under the US Constitution, you have a right against double jeopardy, which means you cannot be retried on a crime for which you were found to be innocent, even if new evidence becomes available after the trial. But there are still instances when the government can still seek an appeal of a criminal trial or order:

  • Any final decision other than a not guilty verdict
  • A pretrial order suppressing evidence
  • An order arresting or vacating a judgment
  • An order granting a defendant a new trial
  • A sentence that is either outside the range for a given offense or miscalculates the range under state law
  • A sentence that either includes provisions not allowed by law or omits required provisions

Thus, prosecutors may file an appeal of a criminal verdict in order to get a longer sentence than was given at trial or to overturn other decisions that went in a defendant’s favor.

Representation in Your Washington State Criminal Appeal

Regardless of whether you are seeking to appeal a verdict or order, or prosecutors are appealing, we focus on appeals and can consult with you about your matter. Appeals are time-sensitive, so please feel free to contact us to discuss your Washington state criminal appeal.

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