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How people can appeal a criminal conviction

People in Florida who have been convicted of a crime may look toward the potential to appeal the conviction and obtain relief from their sentence. The U.S. justice system generally tends to uphold trial court decisions, so moving for an appeal can be an uphill battle. In order for a higher court to hear an appeal, the appealing party must be able to show that some form of material error was made at the trial level.

Courts distinguish between harmless and material errors. If an error by a trial court is considered unlikely to have a meaningful effect on the eventual result, it is not considered a reason to review or reverse the judgment. If a mistake cannot be shown to affect the substantial rights of a litigant, it can be difficult to obtain further review. However, if material error can be shown, there are four main grounds that people can use in order to seek relief from a criminal conviction.

Plain errors in law, such as the miscalculation of a sentence, may be grounds for appeal or resentencing. In other cases, convicted people may claim that important evidence was excluded or improperly allowed into court, leading to a substantial likelihood of a different verdict than would occur otherwise. In addition, people may allege that a judge abused his or her discretion in some rulings in a case. This claim has a high bar, requiring a finding of clearly unreasonable or arbitrary behavior. A fourth way for people to appeal is to claim ineffective assistance of counsel, a violation of Sixth Amendment rights.

Appellate lawyers can help people to challenge an unjust or unfair criminal conviction. A criminal appeals lawyer can develop a creative approach to appellate litigation that can help people to protect their rights and seek relief after trial.