Understanding the Alabama Criminal Appeals Process After a Criminal Conviction

by | Mar 2, 2020 | Appeals, Criminal Defense

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a crime in Alabama, it is not necessarily the end of the road. You still have the right to appeal the conviction. While we like to think that we live in a country where the justice system is perfect and the right decision is always made, sometimes that just isn’t the case. During the trial process, mistakes get made and that is why we have the Court of Criminal Appeals at the state level.

What is an Appeal?

An appeal is not a new trial. There is no jury. No new evidence is presented. An appeal is presented to a multi-judge panel called the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and attorneys presents facts about mistakes or legal errors that occurred at the trial level and present arguments as to why those error should be considered by the appeals court. The job of an appeals attorney is to look for the legal errors made during a trial.

Is the punishment extremely harsh?

Were mistakes made during your trial by the court?

Was evidence improperly admitted in your case?

Did your trial lawyer ineffectively represent you? Were you fit to stand trial?

The appellate court reviews the arguments made by your appellate attorney and reviews the case. The goal of the appeals process is to find a reversible error that either leads to the conviction being vacated or takes to the case back to trial court for further action.

The Clocks Runs Quickly on Criminal Appeals Cases in Alabama

There is a 6-week time period after a decision is made in a case to file an appeal in Alabama and the appellate paperwork must be filed within 42 days of criminal sentencing. Appeals do not happen automatically in Alabama’s judicial system for most cases. You must act quickly to secure an attorney to file your appeal and that attorney will begin the appeals process by filing a Notice of Appeal with the clerk of the trial court where the conviction happened. Next, a Form ARAP-1C, a Reporter’s Transcript Order is filed to access the transcripts that are relevant to the appeal. The third form needed to begin the appeals process is the Court of Criminal Appeals Docking Statement, Form ARAP-26 which gives information to the appellate court and includes a brief summary of the facts regarding the case. These forms are just the beginning of the appeal process. Although this seems very complicated, the attorneys at Agricola Law are very familiar with this process and have a great deal of experience navigating the appellate courts.

How Long Does the Appeal Process Take?

The appeals process has many steps, and effectively completing all of those steps takes time when done correctly. Attorneys at Agricola Law work diligently but getting a case heard by the appellate courts can take quite some time.

After the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals decides your case, you still have one remaining appellate option, an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. Like the appeal to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, time is of the essence in an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. The attorneys at Agricola Law advocate for their clients every step of the way.