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Criminal Defense

Quick Facts about the Appeals Process

Appeals typically arise out of a mistake by law enforcement, misconduct on the part of the prosecution, ineffective legal counsel, insufficient evidence, illegal sentencing, or other errors of law. If the defendant pled not guilty and was convicted by a judge or jury, a case can usually be appealed.

If another law firm handled your criminal case and you lost at trial, it may be time to consider engaging a new attorney to handle your appeal. A fresh approach, and an attorney who is familiar with appellate litigation, can make all the difference.

An appeal can take several months or an entire year. However, some appeals may be concluded in as little as two (2) weeks.

The person who wishes to challenge the adverse decision must initiate an appeal in the court system by filing all necessary documents to the Superior Court or the Appellate Court. The first step involves filing a Notice of Appeal and paying a filing fee, if required. Other deadlines will follow, based on the initial thirty (30) day filing deadline.

If the defendant pled guilty, the option to appeal is very limited. A motion may be filed in the trial court to set aside the guilty plea. This requires that the defendant was improperly advised regarding the consequences of pleading guilty, was inappropriately pressured into pleading guilty, or other circumstance that demonstrates the plea was not voluntarily or knowingly entered into by the defendant.

A win at the Court of Appeals doesn’t mean that your case is dismissed, and that you are acquitted of the charge. It does mean that your conviction is reversed, and that you are entitled to a new trial. If you don’t prevail on appeal, it is possible to petition for review by the Washington Supreme Court for another level of appellate review.