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Requesting an Appeal in Texas

If movies and television programs are to be believed, once you receive a sentencing and conviction in Texas criminal court, the case is closed, settled, and locked away. Thankfully, the media is mistaken, and often forgets one of the most important aspects of the criminal justice system: an appeal.

What is an Appeal and How Do I Use One?

A criminal appeal is not necessarily a whole new trial that reevaluates the evidence and brings new witnesses to the stand. Instead the appellant – the defendant requesting the appeal – asks that the case be reviewed by either another judge or a higher court that can overturn the ruling or modify the sentencing. If you are well-prepared and make a persuasive argument, a successful appeal could dramatically lessen the punishments you have been handed.

Clearly, appeals are a powerful tool. In order to ensure that they are not abused, they are highly regulated and peppered with specific requirements. In particular, you can’t file one for just any conviction; usually you have to be sentenced for a crime more serious than an infraction or a low-level misdemeanor. You also need to argue that you want an appeal because of an actual error in the trial process, not just because you disagree with the ruling.

Errors you may need to cite in your appeal include:

  • Illegal sentencing
  • Ineptitude of legal counsel
  • Misconduct during trial
  • Uninformed jury decision
  • Use of inadmissible evidence
  • Wrongful arrests

You will have to act quickly, though, as some cases have as little as 10 days to file your notice of appeal with the clerk. You will then have roughly one month to follow up with an “appellate brief,” which is a document that clearly explains which error you think played a part in your sentencing. Team up with a professional lawyer when drafting this form, as the prosecution can file their own brief to argue why the appeal should be denied.

Who Can Help Me File an Appeal?

When examined closely, an appeal becomes an altogether different beast than any other legal process. Even the best criminal defense lawyers in the world might not know where to begin if they have not dedicated some of their practice to appeals and how to handle them. You will want to team up with a highly-experienced Katy appeals attorney from Mandy Miller Legal, PLLC. Our lead attorney, Mandy Miller, has handled more than 130 appeals and writs of habeas corpus, and knows the ins and outs of the entire process. Call 832.769.0613 to schedule a free case evaluation today.