Philadelphia Federal Criminal Appeals Attorney
Federal Criminal charges might apply under certain circumstances where state law has no authority. Like state criminal charges, you can appeal if you are convicted of federal charges.
Most appeals are filed because of legal errors made at the district court level. An attorney can help you identify these errors and appeal your case. When to file your appeal is a tricky question, as there are different ways to appeal your case, and different deadlines might apply. Direct appeals, for example, should be filed within 30 days of the conviction. A federal criminal appeal is not a rehashing of facts or evidence. Instead, we argue to the appellate court that serious legal errors occurred in your trial, and a new trial should be ordered. To prepare for an appeal, you should meet with an experienced federal lawyer as soon as possible after being convicted.
If you were recently convicted of federal criminal charges, call our federal criminal appeals lawyers at (215) 302-0171 and schedule a free review of your case with the team at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long.
Possible Reasons for a Federal Criminal Appeal in Philadelphia
Appeals are based on legal errors, not facts or evidence. During an appellate hearing, the court will not hear new arguments or evidence or even rehash the evidence and arguments from the original trial. Instead, the appellate court will review your claims of legal errors made during your trial that you believe compromised the integrity of the trial.
For example, a common claim on appeal is that there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction. Federal prosecutors must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether this burden is met is up to the jury, but sometimes the jury gets it wrong. Many defendants believe there is no way that prosecutors presented enough evidence to support a conviction and that something went wrong. The appellate court may review your claims and determine if there was or was not sufficient evidence to support your conviction.
Many other appeals are based on Constitutional issues. For example, the Fourth Amendment prohibits unlawful searches or seizures by law enforcement. If prosecutors used evidence you believe was seized illegally – meaning the police seized it without a valid warrant or exception to the warrant rule – we should immediately file an appeal.
Other common reasons include a lack of due process, excessive or illegal sentencing, violations of evidentiary rules, and a misapplication of the law by the judge. There are many more reasons to appeal in addition to those mentioned here. Contact an attorney immediately to discuss your case and get started on your appeal.
When to File an Appeal in a Federal Criminal Case in Philadelphia
The deadline to file your appeal may vary based on the type of appeal involved. There are numerous ways to appeal a federal criminal conviction, and adhering to deadlines is crucial to the success of your case.
Direct Appeals to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania
Many federal criminal appeals are direct appeals. A direct appeal is generally held to be the standard or typical method of appealing a federal criminal conviction. This type of appeal focuses on legal errors made during the trial at the federal district court level. A new trial may be ordered if the appellate court agrees these errors influenced an unfair or invalid guilty verdict.
You have 30 days from the date of your conviction to file a direct appeal. This is an incredibly short window of time. Many federal criminal attorneys begin working on direct appeals immediately after the conviction. If you wish to avoid working with the same attorney again, contact a new lawyer immediately. Time is of the essence, and if the 30-day deadline passes, you might be unable to file any direct appeal, barring special circumstances.
Post Conviction Relief Act Petitions
Another way of appealing is under the Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA). This differs from a direct appeal, as you can submit a PCRA petition for only a few reasons. While the direct appeal concerns legal errors made at the district court level, a PCRA petition concerns errors or issues that might only have come to light after the trial.
Generally, a federal PCRA appeal must be submitted no later than 1 year after the case’s final disposition. The final disposition might be the date you were convicted. If you filed a direct appeal, the final disposition would be when the direct appeal was dismissed. Depending on how many appeals came before a PCRA appeal, you might submit a PCRA appeal years after your federal conviction.
PCRA appeals are reserved for certain limited claims. Some of the more common reasons for a PCRA appeal are ineffective assistance of counsel, newly discovered evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct. If you believe you were convicted because of an inept attorney or unethical prosecutors, you should contact our team immediately. Similarly, if new evidence previously unavailable has come to light, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
How to Prepare for a Federal Criminal Appeal in Philadelphia
To start preparing for your appeal, you should contact an attorney immediately. As noted above, the deadline to submit an appeal is short, and the clock starts ticking almost immediately. Even if you are unsure you have any valid arguments to make on appeal, you should call a lawyer anyway. You have a legal right to an appeal. Do yourself a favor and exercise that right, no matter what.
Our federal criminal appeals lawyers can begin by reviewing the trial record from the federal district court where you were convicted. Trial records may be vast and include various records, paperwork, and details about your trial from start to finish. As such, your attorney might need some time to process everything.
By reviewing these records, we can identify errors that might have led to your unfair condition. For example, we might realize that the judge provided jurors with incorrect or improper jury instructions before deliberations despite objections from your attorney. In that case, we can appeal the issue and fight for a new trial.
Call Our Philadelphia Federal Criminal Appeals Attorneys for Help Immediately
If you were convicted of a federal crime, call our federal criminal appeals attorneys at (215) 302-0171 and make an appointment for a free evaluation of your case with us at The Law Offices of Lloyd Long.