Criminal Appeals Process in the State of New Jersey
Our criminal defense lawyers represent defendants in appeals in Linden, Elizabeth, Cranford, Westfield and across Union and Essex County
If you have been wrongly convicted of a crime, it is imperative that you begin the appeals process as soon as possible and have experienced legal representation to ensure that the conviction is reversed at the Appeals Court level. Our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers represent defendants in appeals to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, and the United States Court of Appeals. If convicted with a drug crime, DUI, assault, or theft crime and you are interested in fighting the conviction, it is imperative that you seek counsel of an experienced criminal attorney right away. Read on to learn about important next steps to take in your appeals process and how we can help ensure that justice is served.
What is a criminal appeal?
Often misunderstood, an appeal is not an opportunity to re-argue your case in court. Rather, it is a chance to provide evidence and explanation to an appeals court regarding why the court that convicted you did so in error. As such, you as the convicted bear the burden of proving error.
One may only file an appeal after a jury has reached a guilty verdict. Once the judge begins final judgment and sentencing, a defendant has the legal right to file an appeal. Though one may be eager to begin the appeals process right away, it is advised that a defendant await the conclusion of the trial. Only the defendant may file an appeal, not the state or any other party. Due to the doctrine of double jeopardy, a defendant need not be concerned about being prosecuted during the appeals process for a crime for which they were already found guilty during the initial trial period.
Some examples of errors leading to a false conviction are the acceptance of evidence into court that didn’t have legal grounds to be accepted or a case in which a judge granted a pre-trial motion that adversely affected your case.
What are the benefits of appeal?
Upon receiving the disheartening ruling of ‘guilty,’ it is understandable that the last thing a defendant would want to do is head back into court for an appeal. However, if just has not been served, and you have been wrongly convicted or have received an unfair sentence, the process of appeal is a worthy use of time and resources. Try to resist the urge to blame your criminal defense attorney or fear that you will never receive the justice you deserve. In many criminal cases that are well-argued and seemingly clear in their proof of the defendant’s innocence, an error caused by the trial court itself will lead to a guilty verdict.
What is the appeals process?
New Jersey law stipulates that defendants seeking an appeal from the New Jersey Superior Court must file a Notice of Appeal in addition to other required documents within 45 days from the date of the sentencing hearing. The Notice of Appeal is filed alongside a Criminal Case Information Statement and other related documents to the Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court, Appellate Division.
A skilled criminal defense attorney will be able to navigate the strict timelines and requirements of the appellate process, as all tasks must be completed and documents submitted within an unwavering time-frame. A missed deadline could mean the dismissal of the appeal by the Superior Court. Only in exceptional cases are extensions offered, though a 30-day extension could be provided by the court with the proper submission of documents and an arguable motion before the 45-day deadline. While not suggested, there are cases in which a court will receive the submission of applicable documents after the deadline in the absence of an extension, though this requires a more complex motion and is not a sure bet. Even if the court allows the motion and tardy submission of documents, you will be paying a criminal defense attorney to complete these extra steps.
Consult our Union County Criminal Appeals Attorney Today
An experienced criminal defense attorney is also an essential asset because they will know specific stipulations for the court system for which your appeal applies. While the deadline for filing an appeal in New Jersey Superior Court is 45 days, New Jersey Municipal Court decision appeals have a shorter turnaround requirement, only 20 days to commence the appeals process. Shorter still is the federal courts’ system, which requires that a Notice of Appeal be filed within two calendar weeks of the sentencing hearing to be considered.
Edward S. Cooper ESQ, and his team will support our clients in Rahway, Clark, Roselle Park, Garwood, Elizabeth, Cranford, Edison, and across New Jersey in all matters regarding their appeals process.
To speak to a member of our team about your guilty verdict, contact our offices today by calling (908) 925-9055 for a free and confidential consultation regarding your specific case. We look forward to representing your legal rights.