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Mesa Appeals Lawyer

As a defendant found guilty in a criminal trial, you want to make sure the court did not violate your rights by committing an error or omitting information that should have been given to you. If you believe your conviction or sentence is illegal because the proceedings were tainted, you may have a recourse.

By filing an appeal, you ask a higher court to review your case with an eye on getting another chance in front of a jury, a lesser sentence, or a dismissal. Contact a Mesa appeals lawyer for a free initial consultation to discuss areas of your case that may warrant an appellate review. The knowledgeable attorneys at the Grand Canyon Law Group could review the details of your verdict and help you find any discrepancies that could warrant your case for an appeal.

The Arizona Court System

The Arizona criminal court system is divided into three branches, including:

  • Superior Court in which a defendant is tried for crimes before a jury and to which a defendant files post-conviction relief petitions to be heard by the judge presiding at trial and with the prosecutor’s office representing the state
  • An Appellate Court three-judge panel hears direct appeals based on errors and omissions in a defendant’s criminal trial in Superior Court
  • State Supreme Court is the court of last resort for appealing a case, and the five-judge panel will automatically review appeals in death penalty cases
  • Federal District Court, District of Arizona abides by federal rules of procedure and hears cases in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Yuma. After all Arizona appeals are exhausted, an appeal called a petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus could be filed in federal court

The Basics of a Direct Appeal in Mesa

To file an appeal of a conviction or sentence, the defendant must have been found guilty by a judge or jury at trial. If the defendant accepts a plea deal to a lesser charge or pleads no contest, a direct appeal is not available in Arizona. The appellate court will also not hear new evidence, but will only consider errors in information introduced, or that should have been introduced at trial. Defendants who plead guilty can file a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, which operates similarly to an appeal, but is not identical. If a defendant faces the death penalty, an automatic appeal will be filed with the Arizona Supreme Court. An appeals attorney could offer a fresh perspective on your case and guide you through the local appellate court system.

Mechanics of a Direct Appeal

If you suspect you received an unfair shake at trial that caused you to be found guilty, within 20 days of sentencing an appellate attorney can file a Notice of Appeal, followed by an Opening Brief to the appellate court. The prosecutor’s office will respond with an Answering Brief, and a defendant’s attorney can respond to that with a Reply Brief. The appellate court will review the briefs and consider the written arguments made by the lawyers for each side. The court could then listen to oral arguments before a decision is made in your case. The appeals court could affirm the original verdict, modify it, or reverse it, which means a defendant could go free, the best outcome a criminal appeals attorney could achieve.

A Mesa Appeals Attorney is on Your Side

If you have been found guilty of a crime following a trial, you have options for appealing the conviction or sentence. A direct appeal will present any errors in your trial in front of the appeals court.

Contact a Mesa appeals lawyer to begin the process of making sure you were treated fairly. Our attorneys at the Grand Canyon Law Group are here to help. Call today to get started.

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