Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyer
After a criminal conviction, you probably feel hopeless. If you've been found guilty of a crime in Seattle, our team of aggressive legal representatives can help you understand your legal options under appellate law. Simply put, an appeal allows you to ask the government to reconsider the guilty verdict made against you. In a criminal case, you may be able to appeal a guilty verdict. However, the American government cannot appeal a not guilty verdict. Have you been found guilty of a serious criminal offense? Don't give up; our Seattle criminal defense lawyers can take your case to the court of appeals.
Washington Court of Appeals
You can appeal a case in state or federal court. In Washington, the Washington Court of Appeals is divided into three divisions and serves as the intermediate level appellate court in the state. The Washington Court of Appeals was originally created to ease the burdensome workload of the states supreme court. Division I is based in Seattle. Divisions II and III are based in Tacoma and Spokane. This court is the intermediate appellate court in the state and currently has 24 judges. The Washington Court of Appeals handles the following cases:
- All appeals from final judgments made by the Superior Court
- All other orders that cut off further litigation
- Condemnation orders
- Termination of parental rights
- Juvenile court proceedings
Understanding the Appeals Process
Generally speaking, the appeals process begins when the losing party files a notice of appeal in the trial court. This party is called the "appellant." Appellate courts do not review new evidence or re-try cases; they simply review cases that have already concluded to make sure that the trial court followed proper proceedings during the trial process. The issues discussed in appellate court are very different that the issues discussed in trial court.
For example, the appellate court has the final say on the interpretation of the law, but will typically defer to the jury or trial court for decisions about factual issues. Minor legal errors may not constitute a reversal. However, larger issues can change the outcome of your case. If the court gave erroneous jury instructions or failed follow proper procedures, the appellate court may decide to reverse your guilty plea. Errors are considered "prejudicial" if they affected the outcome of your case.
- Briefing – The appellant starts the appeal process with an opening brief to explain the facts and general background of the case. Additionally, the appellant explains why the court should reverse the decision. After the briefing, the appellee has a change to respond and explain why the decision should not be reversed.
- Oral Argument – After the briefing, an appellate panel may listen to a brief oral argument. Some cases are decided without an oral argument. This is especially common in federal courts. Oral arguments are very brief and usually take less than half an hour to complete.
- Decision – After the appellate court has heard your argument, it will make a determination about your case. You may be provided with a written explanation explaining why the panel decided for or against you.
What can our firm do for you?
Are you looking to appeal a guilty verdict? Our firm can help! We have more than 45 years of combined legal experience helping clients deal with tough legal issues – let us put it to work for you. Our legal practice areas include the following: sex crimes, theft charges, violent crimes, white collar crimes, drug crimes, domestic violence, criminal trespassing, arson and drunk driving. Contact us today to see what a topnotch lawyer from the firm can do for your case!