The criminal appeal process is not something that many people understand. It is complex and confusing at times. If you are in a situation to appeal a criminal conviction in Pennsylvania, then it may help to learn more about the process. Knowing what you need to do and how things work going in will give you a much better chance at making the process work for you.
The American Bar Association explains the criminal appeals process is something you have a right to consider. Here are five things you should know about this process.
- It is not a given
Even though you have the right to appeal, the court does not have to hear your appeal. You may only use the appeals process if there was a legal error in your case. It does not apply just because you do not like the outcome of your case.
- The decision is yours
You, as the defendant, have the ultimate choice in whether you will appeal the case or not. Your attorney may advise you and explain about appealing, but he or she cannot make that decision for you.
- If you received a death sentence
If the judge issued a death sentence, you will get an automatic stay. This means nothing can move forward with your death sentence until you exhaust your appeals.
- You will have a time limit
While it is your right to appeal, you must do so within the time limit set by the court. This is made clear to you after your sentencing.
- The prosecution may be able to appeal
The right for the prosecution to appeal is very limited. It cannot appeal only due to losing the case.
The appeals process can be tedious, but it is something that could very well change your life if the court finds in your favor.