Appeals are commonly initiated in an effort to re-try offender’s case with a new jury, prosecution, and judge. As these are often considered a last line of defense for individuals who have been convicted of a crime, the necessity for a highly-skilled attorney is absolutely paramount. In short, it is smart to consider filing for an appeal when you are confident that your conviction occurred because of an error during the trial rather than your own guilt. In such a scenario, your attorney should be able to show the court that errors present in your trial played an instrumental role in your conviction and that you deserve a fresh trial.


Appellate law is very complex and involves strict time limits so enlisting the help of legal counsel immediately is imperative. An appeal does not allow for a case to be reheard but is concerned only with reviewing the application of legal procedure in the original trial.

Examples of factors in the original trial that may lead to a ruling being overturned:

  • Misleading conduct or outright lying by the prosecution
  • Evidence against you having been gathered in violation of your Constitutional rights
  • Evidence that would have strengthened your defense being disallowed with no valid basis
  • Sentencing which does not conform with Federal Sentencing Guidelines
  • Significant mistakes by your attorney in defending you


You must file your appeal at the same trial court where your case was originally heard. The paperwork that is filed with the appellate must also be accompanied with a proof of service, which is mandatory as it is a signed document saying that the filing party also gave or mailed a copy of the appeal to the opposing party. Your attorney will be able to file and schedule the appeal on your behalf and deliver the proof of service as well.

By appealing a final judgment, you are requesting the official court decision be formally changed because it was made in error. The appeal must be filed with the court and then a new judge or decision maker with hear your case. This is when your attorney must point out that the decision in the prior ruling was biased, considered evidence that should have been inadmissible, did not consider valid evidence, the judge abused his powers, or overall findings were untrue.

The losing party is the one that files the appeal because they are unhappy with the outcome that was agreed upon. Then the applicant and the respondent must write their written arguments down to be submitted. A date is then set for a new hearing and put on the court’s calendar.

The case will be heard by a panel of justices and at least two or three must agree on one decision in order for the majority to rule. Technically, you can only appeal a court ruling once so it can be re-heard. If the court refuses to hear the case then you may be able to go up the court hierarchy system and go to courts above them to have your case heard. There is no court fee for filing an appeal when it comes to a misdemeanor or infringement case.


While an appeal may seem like a sure-fire way of securing your freedom, it takes a strong attorney to develop a winning strategy for success. Appeals are not always granted and there must be a clear reason as to why the court is re-hearing your case. The criminal defense attorneys of Okabe & Haushalter are students of law in every respect. We approach every case as though it is the only case and take no exception when standing up for the right of the accused to a fair trial. Our firm is known throughout California and across the United States for our deep knowledge of criminal defense matters. We also strive to shed light on crucial errors that law enforcement and prosecution make throughout proceedings that may make an appeal an option.

Take the first step. Contact a San Francisco criminal attorney today!

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