The Appeals Process: Motion for a New Trial

Motion for a New Trial

A criminal appeal will ultimately be argued and heard in a reviewing court but the appeals process truly begins in the trial court. The first major step in appealing a conviction is the filing of a motion for a new trial in the court where the trial occurred. A motion for a new trial must be filed within 30-days of the final order from the judgment being appealed. The motion for a new trial while not required for appellate jurisdiction it is a critical step to lay the proper foundation for a successful appeal.

The Supreme Court Rules state that a motion for a new trial must contain all the arguments that you intend to raise in your direct appeal. A failure to raise any argument could result in that argument being waived for appeal, which means that you may not be able to raise the waived argument on appeal. To survive waiver, arguments must be raised with specificity and they cannot be conclusory statements without support from the trial record. It goes without saying that a waiver of any viable argument could be detrimental to your chances on appeal because the appellate court will not consider even valid arguments that are waived.  

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