Skip to main content

Exit WCAG Theme

Switch to Non-ADA Website

Accessibility Options

Select Text Sizes

Select Text Color

Website Accessibility Information Close Options
Close Menu

Appealing a Criminal Conviction

If you have been tried and convicted of a crime, you are not yet at the end of the road.  The next step for you is to appeal your conviction to a higher court, known as an appellate court.  In Florida, there are five District Courts of Appeal that hear these cases.  In an appeal, your lawyer argues that mistakes made at your trial resulted in an improper verdict or sentence.  You may be awarded a new trial, or have your conviction overturned altogether.

What orders can be appealed?

In Florida, appeals are governed by Chapter 924 of the criminal procedure code.  (See Fla. Stat. §924.02 et seq.)  This chapter establishes the ground rules for an appeal as a matter of right.  An appeal as a matter of right is one that the appellate court must hear.  In contrast, a discretionary appeal is one the higher court can refuse to consider.  As a general rule, you can only appeal from an actual conviction, and not from a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere, unless you have expressly reserved your right to appeal when you made your plea.  In addition to appealing a conviction, you may also appeal:

  • an order granting probation;
  • an order revoking probation; and
  • a sentence.

Typically, the appellate court will not hear evidence, unlike the trial court.  Instead, the appellate court reviews the record of the evidence at trial, and briefs (legal arguments) submitted by the lawyers for both sides.

Grounds for appeal

There are two basic grounds for appeal:

  1. The trial court committed plain error, which is a legal mistake affecting a defendant’s substantial rights; or
  2. The weight of the evidence at trial does not support the verdict.

In order for you to raise an issue on appeal, it must have been “preserved” in the trial court.  This means that the trial court must have had the chance to rule on the issue.  If a particular issue was not raised in the trial court, it can only support an appeal if it would constitute fundamental error.

Examples of legal errors

The following are examples of the kinds of errors of law that might have occurred during a trial:

  • violation of the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures;
  • search warrant defects;
  • statements or confessions obtained in violation of constitutional rights;
  • violation of the right to a speedy trial;
  • evidence improperly admitted;
  • juror misconduct or fraud; or
  • prosecutorial misconduct.

Errors made at trial are not always obvious.  It is essential to have qualified appellate counsel review the entire record from your trial to determine whether there are errors that would support an appeal.

At an appeal’s conclusion, the appellate court can do a number of things:

  • affirm the conviction;
  • reverse or modify the conviction;
  • modify a sentence; or
  • order a new trial.

Consult a Miami and Orlando appellate lawyer

A conviction does not mean you must stop fighting the charges against you.  On the contrary, the skilled Miami appellate lawyers of The Baez Law Firm are available to help you take the next step.  We have a large network of lawyers who focus on appeals nationwide, and the resources to provide you with the best appellate team.  Call us today at 800-588-BAEZ, or contact us online.

By submitting this form I acknowledge that form submissions via this website do not create an attorney-client relationship, and any information I send is not protected by attorney-client privilege.

DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Skip footer and go back to main navigation