Washington Criminal Court System
Prosecutions for alleged crimes take place in the court systems of the state’s 39 counties. Superior courts hear felony cases, while misdemeanor cases may go before a district court or a superior court. With the help of a criminal appeals lawyer, a defendant may appeal a district court conviction to the superior court of the same county, while appeals of superior court convictions go to one of the state’s three Courts of Appeals.
The Washington Supreme Court hears appeals of Court of Appeals decisions. It has final jurisdiction over state law cases, except in rare circumstances when the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal. The criminal court system can be confusing for an individual who has been accused, which is why Vindicate Law encourages you to hire an experienced appellate attorney.
How Criminal Appeals Attorneys Can Help You
You should consult with an experienced Washington criminal appeals attorney no matter where you are in the criminal process. A seasoned appellate attorney is equipped with the resources needed to successfully appeal a broad range of criminal convictions, including (but not limited to) the following:
If you’ve been wrongfully convicted of one of the crimes listed above, seek the help of a criminal appeals attorney ASAP. You need to consult with a team of legal experts before filing an appeal, as they have the experience and legal understanding you need to navigate this tricky process
Appeal a Conviction
With the help of a criminal appellate attorney, defendants may obtain a new trial or a reversal of a conviction. Because of the double jeopardy clause of the Constitution, the state may not appeal an acquittal. The defendant must file a notice of appeal within 30 days of sentencing —it’s wise to consult with a criminal appeal lawyer before submitting. The trial court has discretion on whether to stay the sentence or require the defendant to post bail during the appeal.
The defendant, now known as the appellant, generally may only raise issues of an error occurring at trial. This could include prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel, errors by the court in admitting or suppressing evidence, and constitutional violations. New evidence is usually not allowed.
Habeas Corpus Petition
A person can file a petition for habeas corpus in state or federal court after their prison sentence begins, and sometimes after the time to appeal has passed. The rules for habeas petitions are complicated, and the time frames for filing depend on a wide range of factors. Grounds for habeas relief often involve new evidence not available at trial. A criminal appeal lawyer is extremely beneficial when filing a petition.