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Did you know that everyone convicted of a crime in a Texas court is entitled to appeal? The clock on this right, however, begins to tick right away and a person wishing to appeal a conviction only has 30 days from the date of conviction to file the notice of appeal. Should this notice not be filed before the 30-day window has passed, the right to an appeal may be lost.

In the case of a death sentence, the appeal goes to the Court of Criminal Appeals. In all other cases, the appeal will go to the Court of Appeals. The appellate court is tasked with reviewing the record of the case for legal errors that may entitle the defendant to some form of appellate relief.

The Criminal Appeals Process

In order to initiate the appeals process, as stated above, you must file your notice of appeal. The notice will detail what you are appealing from. It will state your desire to appeal as well as which appellate court will hear the appeal. The notice is filed in the Clerk’s office of the court where you received your criminal conviction and the clerk, in turn, will send notice and other pertinent information about your case to the appellate court.

After the notice of appeal is filed and the record of your case is complete, an appellate brief must be filed. The appellate brief will detail things such as errors made at the trial level. The state will then have an opportunity to file a response to this initial appellate brief and then the case will proceed to be reviewed by the appellate court.

During a criminal appeal, new evidence cannot be introduced. An appeal is strictly limited to the record as it stands. It is not a new trial, but instead, a review of the trial to see if there are legal errors present that would render the trial outcome fundamentally unfair. Such a review will involve going over decisions and actions taken by the trial judge and seeing if there were any rulings made during, or even before, the trial that could be seen as unfair. Was someone prevented from testifying that should have been permitted? Was evidence excluded that should have been admitted? These are decisions that could have significant impacts on the outcome of a case.

In Texas, there are 14 appellate courts. An appeal will be decided by a panel of three judges. These judges are not tasked with deciding guilt or innocence. They are tasked with determining whether or not a defendant received a fair trial. They are tasked with deciding whether there was sufficient evidence presented to support the conviction. Was the verdict manifestly unjust? This means that there was insufficient evidence to support such a conviction and this can be decided by the court of appeals.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been convicted of a crime, you still have options. Talk to the dedicated criminal defense team at Navarrete & Schwartz. We are proud to serve the residents of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.