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How to position your criminal case for appeal

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Despite the fear that comes with being charged with a criminal offense, deep down there’s hope that you’ll beat the prosecution, either by convincing them to dismiss their case or by obtaining an acquittal at trial. But if you do end up having to litigate your case to a jury, then it’s important that you view your case and the presentation of evidence from both the micro and the macro level. At the micro level, you need to gather and present evidence that persuades the jury to side with you and hopefully find you not guilty. At the macro level, though, you have to realize that even if you have a strong criminal defense, there’s always the possibility of conviction.

It’s easy to lose hope when a jury convicts you. But you have the right to appeal your conviction. The likelihood of success on appeal will depend on the facts of your case, but it could also hinge on the record that you make in your underlying case.

There are a lot of things you need to be cognizant of as you navigate your case, otherwise you might lose opportunities on appeal. So, as you prepare to navigate your criminal case, you should focus on the following:

  • Filing appropriate pretrial motions: These could include motions to suppress evidence, various discovery motions, motions in limine, and a motions to dismiss. Remember, these motions and the court’s ruling on them create a record. If this record shows that the court violated your rights or otherwise abused its discretion in a way that negatively impacted your case, then you’ll have a better chance of winning your case on appeal.
  • Making proper objections: At trial, the prosecution is probably going to try to sneak evidence in past you. If you don’t make proper objections, then the judge and jury is going to hear that evidence. By making objections, though, you preserve the issue for appeal, even if the trial court judge rules against you.
  • Presenting all the evidence: Although it can be hard to win an appeal on a sufficiency of the evidence basis, it’s an issue that’s worth considering. So, as you prepare to take your case to trial, ensure that you’re ready to present every shred of evidence that could raise doubt as to your guilt. Remember, the appellate court is only going to see what’s in the record at the trial court level.
  • Knowing the law: Ultimately, you have to have a lot of legal foresight to position your case for successful appeal. By knowing relevant statutes, trial rules, and the rules of evidence, you can create a stronger record by making cleaner arguments and appropriately making and responding to objections.
  • Assessing prosecutorial conduct: The criminal justice system is supposed to be fair. Sometimes, though, prosecutors fail to disclose exculpatory evidence that could help you raise reasonable doubt as to your guilt or even prove your innocence. If prosecutors fail to play by the rules in your case, then you can use their behavior to seek an appeal of your conviction.

You need a strong criminal defense to protect your interests at both the trial and appellate levels. So, before heading into your case, make sure you understand the law and how you can use it to your advantage. By being thorough in building your criminal defense, you’ll hopefully be able to beat the charges levied against you in one way or another and get back to your normal life.