Situations When You Must Use Your Right to Appeal

An appeal can sometimes be the saving grace of your case. If you’re not familiar with the term already, appeal means challenging an already existing legal decision for an array of reasons. When you have the right to appeal, you refer the case for a higher legal power for reviewing and consideration.

If you use your right to appeal at the right time, you can make the odds in your favor. With the aid of a competent attorney, the final legal decision can change for your benefit. There are several cases in which you can use your right to appeal. In this guide, we provide you with situations in which you must use your right to appeal.

Criminal Cases

Criminal cases are widely known for giving the right to appeal for the defendant. Only the defendant has the right to appeal regarding the conviction (whether or not the defendant is found guilty) and the sentence, as in the punishment the defendant receives for their crimes. However, some states allow prosecution the right to appeal to determine some parts of a particular law. However, the prosecution may only use their limited right to appeal before trial, as using that right after trial can result in double jeopardy or being tried twice for the same crime.

Insufficient Evidence

If there was an error in a trial’s procedure, a mistake on the part of the judge who misinterpreted the law, or lack of necessary evidence, the defendant might have the right to appeal in that case. Lack of evidence can make excellent grounds for appeal if your claim has been denied, especially in cases heavily dependent on evidence. Once you establish the lack of necessary evidence, you can start the appeal procedures. Appellate courts more or less require a written brief to decide on whether or not to change the court’s decision, but sometimes, they might also require an oral argument to reach a decision.

Newly Discovered Evidence

You may also use your right to appeal if there is newly discovered evidence which supports your wrongful conviction. In these cases, the defendant may have the right to appeal if this evidence wasn’t available to them due to the prosecutor withholding evidence from them. Because the law grants a fair trial for all defendants; therefore, using this evidence as a right for appeal might be essential for the outcome of the trial. A defendant might even have a whole new trial if the evidence is really supportive of their case.

Juror Misconduct

Jurors may have a large influence on the outcome of your case and your right for an appeal. For example, they are responsible for making sure that the verdict’s procedures are strictly followed to the letter and that the verdict isn’t affected in any way by improper instructions that can affect the final verdict. They should also not perform misconduct like using drugs or alcohol while on duty, talking to witnesses, or experiments to prove someone’s guilt. If the judge performs any of these acts, the defendant has the right to appeal.

Family Cases

Family cases can be complicated and should be handled with care. If they’re not, the right to child’s custody may fall into the wrong hands. The right to appeal in these cases is granted for both parties, and both have the right to appeal against the judge’s decision on where to place a child’s custody. Consult a child custody attorney to resolve high-stake custody disputes. In divorce cases, matrimonial assets can be divided unfairly, so you may be granted the right to appeal as well in that case. Note, however, that orders by the judicial officer must be obeyed by both parties, even if an appeal has been filed, an appeal does not affect these orders, at least not immediately.

Civil Cases

Appeals can also be used in civil cases in which there is a contractual dispute. An example of a contractual dispute is one that occurs between two business owners, a house owner, and builder, or a consumer and a supplier. Appeals can also be filed in boundary disputes between neighbors and cases where the defendant sustained injuries due to negligence by a doctor’s misconduct and is seeking compensation.

Civil Cases

Now that you know cases in which you have to use your right to appeal, you can resume with the appeal procedures. Note that errors can always happen, and new evidence can always come to light, which will help you establish your right to appeal. If you don’t have prior knowledge in this specific area of the law, you can always consult an appeals lawyer who will also help you out with the paperwork. Remember that you can only use errors that are considered harmless to you, so harmless errors may not create grounds for appeal.