According to California’s Penal Code 17, someone is charged with a felony when law enforcement officials believe that individual committed a serious criminal offense. One must understand that a felony conviction can lead to a lengthy sentence in state prison or even the death penalty. Once convicted, however, California law allows a felony conviction to be challenged, however. When a defendant feels that he or she has been wronged by the criminal justice system, he or she has a Constitutional right to file an appeal.  An appeal is asking a higher court to review the decision made by the lower court to see if mistakes were made.

The appealing process

If someone in California convicted of a felony wants to appeal the court’s decision, he or she has the right to do so. Felony appeals in California are a request to have a higher court review the case decision made by a lower court. The Court of Appeal has the jurisdiction in California to handle a felony appeal made. A person, legally, has 60 days from the date the original judgement was made to file a Notice of Appeal. One must file a Notice of Appeal form at the office of the clerk where the trial was heard. There typically is no charge to file the form. The Court of Appeal specifically will consider an appeal if it states errors took place during the trial. The Court of Appeal will examine the ruling to see if sufficient evidence existed to support the original verdict.

Hiring a criminal defense attorney

Appealing a court’s decision regarding a felony conviction can be a complex process. It is advisable to seek assistance from a skilled California criminal defense attorney when filing a Notice of Appeal form. Legally, a defendant has the right to hire his or her attorney of choice. If one doesn’t have the ability to pay for an attorney, he or she could be eligible to have a court appointed attorney handle a felony appeal in California.

It is important to note, someone appealing a court’s decision regarding a felony conviction is not going to have a new trial. New evidence, including witnesses, will not be entertained by the Court of Appeal. However, the defense lawyer will work to convince the Court of Appeal the previous ruling was not fair due to an error made or a prejudice in the court. If the Court of Appeal agrees with the criminal defense attorney, the original sentence can be reversed, either partly or in whole, or the case can be sent back to trial. If the Court of Appeal reviews the cause and believes it was conducted lawfully, it will affirm the original conviction.