Orange County Criminal Appeals

Did you lose your criminal case?
There might still be hope.
judge_iconLosing a criminal case in the trial court doesn’t necessarily mean your case is over. Criminal appeals are a useful tool for criminal defendants to correct something that went wrong in the trial court. In California, including in Orange County, every person convicted of a crime as a result of a criminal trial has a statutory right to appeal the judgment.
Have you plead guilty?
Even guilty pleas can be appealable

In general, you can appeal an order after the judgment if that order affected your substantial rights. Many trial court decisions before your guilty plea can affect your substantial rights and are therefore appealable.

For example, in many cases a guilty plea is the result of the judge refusing to suppress evidence that may have been obtained unlawfully. Criminal defendants have a right to have evidence suppressed in a case against them if it was obtained as the result of a violation of their constitutional rights. So, in those cases, criminal defendants have the right to appeal the denial of their motion to suppress evidence against them. This is particularly common with drug offenses.

Additionally, if the court has made an error in calculating your custody credits, you can appeal that decision after you have attempted to correct that error in the trial court.

What is a criminal appeal?
A criminal appeal is a way to correct errors in the lower court.

Judges are experts in the law, but they don’t always make the right decisions. Criminal appeals are a way to try to correct mistakes made by lower court judges. Some of these mistakes are constitutional errors, while others are simply incorrect decisions. In some cases, Orange County criminal defendants can even reverse their convictions on appeal by arguing that there was not enough evidence to support the conviction.

Whatever the case, criminal defendants often have a right to appeal decisions in their cases and ask the California Court of Appeal to correct mistakes in the trial court. They must, however, act fast, because there are short deadlines to appeal criminal cases. To do so, criminal defendants should obtain a skilled Orange County appellate attorney to assist them.

Criminal appeals, however, are not a new trial. There is usually no opportunity to gather new evidence. They are simply a way to correct mistakes made by the lower court.

Do juveniles have a right to appeal?
In many cases, yes.

Juvenile delinquency proceedings are controlled by a different set of laws than normal criminal proceedings. Sections of California’s Welfare and Institutions Code—specifically section 800—determine whether juvenile defendants have a right to appeal. As a general matter, a judgment in a juvenile delinquency case may be appealed from by the minor.

Not every trial is perfect.
But we can often fight to make it better.

Not every criminal defendant receives a perfect trial, but they should. In many cases, courts make mistakes by suppressing evidence that supports the accused criminal defendant, improperly instructing the jury, issuing an overly-harsh sentence, or committing some other mistake. A criminal appeal, with the help of an appellate attorney, can try to correct these mistakes.

We have constitutional rights for a reason. If the government wishes to deprive a person of their rights, the government has the burden of doing that through the correct procedures. These procedures are in place to ensure that people accused of a crime are treated humanely and given a full opportunity to defend themselves. When they are denied a full opportunity to do that, the government’s burden is improperly lowered. With the help of a skilled appellate attorney, you can seek to fix problems that occurred in your criminal trial.

California provides a right to appeal.
Criminal defendants in Orange County have the benefit of a right to appeal most cases.
suprabook_iconThe state and federal constitutions do not guarantee criminal defendants a right to appeal their case. However, the legislature has adopted Penal Code sections 1237 and 1466 that provide criminal defendants with a statutory right to appeal their case. These rights generally only apply if the judgment arise from a plea of not guilty. Even in guilty plea situations, however, criminal defendants have a right to appeal where an order affected the accused's substantial rights.

Because criminal defendants are given a statutory right to appeal, courts are required to provide procedures that comply with constitutional principles of due process and equal protection. This means that criminal defendants are usually entitled to the effective assistance of an attorney on appeal.

What can an appeal do for you?
It depends on the kind of error the trial court made.

There are a variety of errors that can be corrected on appeal. These errors can include overly harsh sentences, improper guilty pleas, admitting unlawful evidence, or using incorrect jury instructions. Attacking these errors can often help reduce the time a defendant is required to serve, help get a conviction reversed, or help reduce the charges a defendant might face. There are many benefits to appealing a conviction. To find out which benefits you might be entitled to, contact an Orange County appeals attorney today.

How long do criminal appeals take?
An appeal can take a year or so.

In most appeals, there are three briefs filed:

  • The opening brief,
  • The respondent's brief, and
  • The reply brief.

The opening brief and the respondent's brief can each take months to prepare. The reply brief usually takes about 20 days to prepare.

Within about 90 days of the briefs being filed, oral argument might take place. After that, the parties wait for the court to make its decision, which can sometimes take two or three months. So the process from beginning to end can take quite a while.

I am conveniently located in Orange County.
Kyle Smith Law
19200 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 400

Irvine, California 92612
United States

Phone: (949) 529-8464

I represent clients from all over California.
Because appeals are filed remotely, I represent clients across California.

Criminal appeals are a unique process in our legal system. They are not a new trial and there is usually only one hearing. Most appeals can be prepared and filed from anywhere in California.

I have represented clients in both the Fourth District Court of Appeal and the Fifth District Court of Appeal. The Fourth District covers much of Southern California, like San Diego County, Riverside County, and Orange County. While the Fifth District covers counties in Central California, like Fresno, Kern, Tuolumne, and other counties.