Going through a criminal trial is stressful—especially if you have to file an appeal to get justice. A successful appeal in a criminal case can bring a great sense of relief. However, it does not necessarily mean that your case is over yet. This raises an important question: What happens if you win a criminal appeal? The short answer is it depends on why you filed an appeal and why exactly the court ruled in your favor. In this article, our Washington criminal appeal attorneys explain what happens if you prevail in a criminal appeal. 

You Won a Criminal Appeal in Washington State: Now What? 

When filing an appeal for a criminal conviction in Washington State, you must select specific grounds on which to challenge the verdict. Upon review, the appeals courts will most often render one of the following two verdicts: 

  • Affirm the Trial Court’s Decision: If the Washington State appeals court affirms the decision of the trial court, it essentially means that you lost your appeal. The appeals court determined that the lower court handled the matter properly. 
  • Reverse and Remand the Case: If you win a criminal appeal in Washington State, the appeals court will most likely “reverse and remand” the case back to the lower court. What exactly this means for you depends on several factors. 

Criminal Appeals in Washington: Reversed and Remanded 

When a criminal verdict is “reversed” on appeal it generally means that the appeal court found some sort of error in the legal proceedings. This is good news: You won your appeal—at least on one matter. When a criminal verdict is remanded, it means that the case is being sent back down to the lower court so that they can review the matter and fix the error. 

Note: Winning an appeal is not always an “either/or” matter in Washington State. A criminal case can be appealed on multiple grounds. It is possible for a split decision whereby the appeals court affirms the lower court’s verdict on some matters but reverses on other matters.  

A Reversal and Remand Can Often Lead to a New Trial

In many criminal cases, a reversal and remand on appeal often mean that the defendant will be entitled to a new trial. Though, that is not certainly not guaranteed. It depends on why the appeal was filed and why it was successful. For example, if you filed a successful appeal over sentencing, then you are not going to get an entirely new trial. Instead, you will go back to the sentencing stage of the process. Notably, in some cases, Washington prosecutors may decide to dismiss the charges and not go forward with another trial. 

Contact a Resourceful Washington Criminal Appeal Lawyer Today

At The Appellate Law Firm, our Washington criminal appeal attorneys have the professional skills and legal experience you can count on for results. If you have any specific questions about what happens if you prevail in a criminal appeal, we are here to help. Call us now or connect with us online for a strictly private case evaluation. From our office location in Seattle, we handle criminal appeals throughout the entire State of Washington.

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