If you invested the time and effort into going to court to defend yourself against criminal charges, you likely still assert your innocence even after your conviction. It is common for defendants reeling from an unexpected conviction to wonder if they can potentially appeal the decision and exonerate themselves.
Appeals are a legal right available to those involved in the Alabama criminal justice system who disagree with the outcome of their cases. However, there are strict rules that govern when someone actually qualifies for an appeal.
If one of the three circumstances below applies to you, then you may be in a position to ask the court to reconsider the recent decision that was not in your favor.
Ineffective assistance of counsel
To defend yourself against criminal accusations, you need an attorney who is competent. If your lawyer showed up to your hearing while under the influence of alcohol, didn’t make it to court at all or gave you advice that directly contributed to your conviction, their failings could be the basis for your upcoming appeal.
Noteworthy procedural or legal mistakes
Do you believe that the state erred in its interpretation of the law in your case? Did your attorney challenge certain behavior by the prosecutor, only they have the judge dismiss their concerns?
When you can show that there were inappropriate actions taken during the court proceedings or that the courts erred in their interpretation of Alabama law, you may be able to appeal on the basis of either a mistake by the courts or the fact that you did not get fair consideration.
Sometimes, a new suspect shows up years after a conviction. There could be new evidence that makes it clear someone else committed the crime or at least that you were not the one who did. New evidence could be reason to appeal a prior decision and might even result in a new trial or your exoneration.
Continuing to push for fair treatment and consideration by the criminal courts after your conviction may eventually help you secure justice via the appeals process after the courts erroneously convicted you the first time.