A criminal conviction in Washington can have several serious consequences. Besides the fines, prison sentence and community service, a criminal record will follow you for years, preventing you from enjoying your basic rights like access to housing opportunities, employment, voting and owning a firearm. If you were wrongfully convicted or believe that the sentence handed down was too harsh, you might be able to appeal your conviction.
A criminal appeal based on an error made by the court during the trial
The judge or jury can make a mistake during the trial that can substantially affect the case’s outcome. For example, a common error that judges make is the miscalculation of sentences after a conviction. CRIMINAL LAW – Criminal Appeals allows you to appeal the conviction on the basis that:
- There was an obvious error made during the trial
- The trial court did not make any effort to correct that error
- The error affects your substantial rights
- The error seriously affected the fairness, integrity or reputation of the judicial proceedings
Ineffective assistance of counsel
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees every criminal defendant the right to effective assistance of counsel. The moment you hire an attorney, they automatically owe you a fiduciary duty. If your lawyers were ineffective, meaning they did not provide the level of skill or care that a reasonable attorney would have under the same circumstances, you might be able to get your conviction overturned.
Evidentiary issues can happen before or during the trial. For example, if the judge makes an improper ruling on the inclusion or exclusion of certain evidence during the pretrial motion phase, you can appeal their final ruling. The same applies when law enforcement conducts an illegal search and seizure that leads to the discovery of evidence used against you in the trial, such as drugs or a weapon.
The appellate process can seem daunting, especially if you are going against the judge or jury, your first lawyer or other people in law enforcement. But if you have grounds for an appeal, it may be worth pursuing.