How Long Do I Have to Appeal the Conviction of a Federal Crime?

Federal Crime

A conviction for a federal crime is a devastating experience. When a person is convicted of a federal crime, they may face prison time, large fines, missed opportunities, a permanent mark on their criminal record and associated consequences, and more. While being convicted of a federal crime may leave you feeling hopeless and unsure about the future, there may be the possibility of appeal.

To appeal the conviction of a federal crime, however, you must file your appeal within a certain amount of time from the date of the conviction, and your case must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for an appeal. Refer to the following overview of appealing the conviction of a federal crime, and call our experienced federal crimes lawyer at the office of Thomas Law for more information from a trusted, reliable source.

What Is a Federal Criminal Appeal?

If you have been convicted of a federal crime and are considering an appeal, it’s important to get some clarity around what an appeal is — and what it isn’t. In many cases, defendants and the convicted (and sometimes, even legal professionals) confuse an appeal as being synonymous with a retrial.

An appeal and a retrial are not the same things. An appeal is a legal proceeding in which the convicted person and their attorney attacks the decision of the court on legal grounds, alleging that some sort of legal error has taken place and therefore the judgment of the court has been invalidated. For example, if the jury was biased, or if the defendant did not have adequate legal counsel, there may be grounds for an appeal.

An appellate court generally does not review any new evidence; therefore, an appeal is not a new trial in any sense of the word. If your appeal is won, then your case will likely be remanded. This means that the case is sent back to the trial court or the judge who issued the decision about the verdict in your case. It is possible that at this point, a judge will order a new trial. However, remember that this will only occur after an appeal has been made and was successful.

Time Limits for Filing a Notice of Appeal

When it comes to filing an appeal, time is a very important consideration. First, it’s important to know that you cannot file an appeal or begin the appeals process until a final judgment has been entered. In other words, you must be found guilty before you file for an appeal.

Once a judgment has been entered into the record and you have been declared guilty by a court, you only have a limited amount of time to act. To be sure, The United States Department of Justice’s Justice Manual, Title 2: Appeals, Section 2-4.112 holds that “appeals by a convicted defendant must be taken within 14 days after entry of judgment appealed from…” While there are some exceptions to this rule, the general rule is that you should plan to file your appeal within 14 days of being convicted of a crime. As such, it is critical that you find an appellate lawyer immediately.

Grounds for an Appeal

You cannot bring forth an appeal simply because you were found guilty and want another trial; you must be able to show that you have grounds for an appeal. Grounds for appeal in a criminal case might include a legal error being made, juror misconduct, or ineffective counsel. If a defendant’s Constitutional rights were breached during the criminal case, this is grounds for an appeal.

A convicted person will need to submit evidence that their case involved one of the above and their rights were violated as such.

What Happens if You Lose an Appeal?

Losing an appeal can feel like the end of the world. While your options are definitely more limited if you lose an appeal, losing an appeal is not necessarily the end of the line. Usually, the first appeal is actually the start of the process and if you lose the appeal, there may be other post-conviction proceedings that can occur.

It’s very important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you a) file an appeal within the first 14 days following your conviction, b) that your appeal has the best chance possible, and c) that if your appeal is ineffective, you have a legal professional on your side who can guide you through your options.

First Steps to Beginning an Appeal 

If you have just been convicted of a crime or think that you are about to be convicted, it’s important to start planning for your appeal immediately. The first thing that you should do is to hire an appellate attorney — you don’t want to file an appeal without legal representation. Once you have an attorney, they will handle the next steps in your case, including preparing your federal crime appeal brief and filing your notice of appeal.

They will also handle preparing the record on appeal, researching and writing your appeal, and preparing the oral argument. The oral argument is one of the most important parts of the appeals process. You will want an attorney who has experience representing clients in similar situations.

Call Our Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Being convicted of a federal crime is very serious and could have life-long consequences. While the road to an appeal is long and extremely challenging, filing an appeal may be an option. If your rights have been violated, filing an appeal may be the only way to get the justice that you deserve from the criminal defense system.

At the office of Thomas Law, our federal criminal defense attorney can help you to appeal your federal crime conviction. To learn more, please call the law office of Thomas Law directly today for your consultation. Our lawyer is available to travel to your location and start working on your case immediately.