Should I Appeal my Criminal Case?

If you try your case, and lose it, you absolutely should appeal.  If there were enough issues that forced you to try the case, then there are more than likely going to be issues to be raised on your behalf in an appeal.  You may not have the same lawyer represent you on your appeal that you had represent you during your trial, but MAKE SURE that your trial lawyer files a Notice of Appeal promptly after your trial if you get a result you are not pleased with.  I discussed the strict deadlines for filing a criminal appeal in Mississippi here.

If you plead guilty in exchange for a plea bargain, you may not have a choice to appeal.  One of the requirements of which the state usually insists in a Plea Bargain is that you waive your right to appeal.  Discuss this with your lawyer before taking a plea.  Waiving your right to appeal your case is one of the MAJOR drawbacks to taking a plea.

In practice, the fee agreements for most lawyers state that they will represent you up until your trial is over, but not including your appeal, so be prepared for that.  Appeals tend to be very labor and legal writing-intensive, and some lawyers simply do not want to do them.  There is nothing wrong with that, and so your trial lawyer may be able to recommend an appellate specialist to help you present your case at the appellate court level.

My practice is about 20% appellate work, and I wish it were more.  Trials don’t make new law, but appeals just might, and I find that work almost – but not quite – as exciting as hearing a jury announce “Not Guilty.”  If you or someone you know has recently been convicted at trial and you are searching for an appellate lawyer, I will be glad to discuss the case.  Don’t wait too long; call me as soon as the trial is over.