Get an Honest and Experienced Appeals Lawyer on Your Team
Being convicted of a criminal offense is a life-altering event. While facing the prospect of incarceration you must decide whether you want to file a direct appeal in your case and unfortunately time is not on your side. Illinois appeals law requires anyone convicted of a crime to file a notice of appeal with the appellate court within 30 days of being convicted. If the 30-day period passes without filing a notice of appeal then the right to appeal is given up forever except in very exceptional situations.
What is a direct appeal?
A direct appeal is a formal pleading seeking to have a 3-judge panel review the trial court’s decision in finding you guilty. During an appeal, the appellate court will review whether an error occurred in the trial court that resulted in a denial of due process or an error that denied the defendant a fair trial.
A notice of appeal is the formal method of starting the appeals process in Illinois. After filing a notice of appeal, the appellate record must be prepared, which includes the entire trial court file, the trial transcripts, exhibits entered into evidence, and anything else that is relevant to the appeal. Your appellate attorney will use these items to create an appellate brief on your behalf.
The Importance of the Appellate Brief
Unlike a trial where evidence is presented and judged by a jury, no new evidence is presented on appeal. Because of this appellate rule the appellate brief is the single most important piece of the appellate puzzle. In the brief, your appeals lawyer will present a written argument fully detailing the mistakes that occurred during your trial. Every issue in the appellate brief must cite to the appellate record where the error was made and it must cite other cases or laws that support your argument. The main issues in a direct appeal all involve the application of law, not the actual case that was debated in the lower court.