Have you been convicted of a crime in Greensboro, NC? It’s a frightening reality when you have to face a conviction for a crime that you did not commit. No matter how long or short you spend in jail, this conviction can have long-term effects on your personal and professional life. Therefore, finding a criminal defense lawyer in Greensboro to appeal your case and successfully overturn the conviction is crucial.
So, how does the Greensboro appeals court work? And what are the best strategies to successfully overturn a conviction?
The North Carolina Criminal Appeals Process
Before you can appeal a conviction in Greensboro, NC, it pays to understand how the appeals process works. There is a proper North Carolina Rules of Appellate procedure to follow.
To sum it up, the Supreme Court of North Carolina honors a defendant’s right to appeal a conviction. Here is an overview of what you can expect before you enter the Greensboro appeals court:
- If the conviction is made in the lower courts in North Carolina, that conviction is appealed and tried in the superior courts. The defendant must issue a notice of appeal to the district court (orally or in writing). The notice of appeal should be issued within 14 days after the conviction is announced in court.
- The North Carolina Court of Appeals has jurisdiction in reviewing cases in several courts in the state, but they are subject to various statutes.
- Aside from the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court has jurisdiction to review cases involving appeals to convictions. These appeals are passed along to the Supreme Court when there is dissent in the Court of Appeals, or the case involves the state or federal Constitution. Therefore, the Supreme Court can perform a discretionary review of cases before or after they have been sent to the Court of Appeals. The only exception to this is in murder cases wherein there is an imposition of the death penalty.
- The defendant has no right to appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals if they entered a guilty or no contest plea (or any admission to the case being tried). In this case, the defendant has the right to appeal their sentence, appeal a denial or withdraw their guilty/no contest plea.
The law on appealing convictions in Greensboro, NC, is complex. Therefore, you must speak with a criminal defense lawyer in Greensboro to navigate the complex legal matters involving the Court of Appeals to ensure a successful overturning of convictions.
Filing the Notice of Appeal
North Carolina law provides explicit guidelines on how to file a motion to appeal a conviction in Greensboro. All criminal convictions in North Carolina require you to submit a notice of appeal to the court that holds jurisdiction over the case. The notice can be made orally or in written format. This notice must be served to the district attorney within 14 days of sentencing.
There are some exceptions to the timeline of filing an appeal, especially for those seeking post-conviction relief.
After the notice of appeal is filed, the court reporter has up to 60 days to prepare the transcript for the court proceedings. In capital cases, this is extended to 120 days. Your appellate lawyer will receive a copy of the transcript, and your legal team has 35 days to submit an appeal detailing the errors in the trial that prevented a fair conviction. In addition, you must submit additional evidence to support the errors mentioned in the Record on Appeal. Once submitted, the state attorney will submit their responses to the errors presented.
Successful Strategies for Overturning Convictions in Greensboro, NC
Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney to appeal your conviction is the first and most crucial step in fighting convictions in Greensboro, NC. Choose an attorney with experience in appealing cases and overturning convictions to boost your chances of success.
The following are the most effective strategies you can employ, with your attorney’s legal guidance, to increase the possibility of having a successful appeal.
- Abuse of Discretion
The most common strategy in appealing a conviction in North Carolina involves the abuse of discretion. Law defines discretion as the judge’s ability to decide on a case based on their conscience. If your attorney has determined and has enough evidence to support your claim that this discretionary power was abused, erroneous, or unreasonable, you can use that to file an appeal.
- Ineffective Counsel
If your Sixth Amendment right was violated during the court proceedings, you could use that as a defense in appealing your conviction. The court will examine the attorney’s conduct and if it undermined the judicial process, resulting in a wrongful conviction. Therefore, choosing your criminal defense attorney wisely is crucial to ensure they can defend your case properly and legally so as not to undermine your rights during the trial process.
- Insufficient Evidence
The evidence plays a vital role in a conviction being reached in your case. If you file a notice of appeal to overturn your conviction, you can use insufficient evidence as a strategy. The appeals court cannot review how the evidence was presented; instead, the appeal will focus on how the lower court weighed the evidence to reach such a conviction in the case.
This appeal strategy focuses on presenting any error during the trial that violated the defendant’s rights based on the criminal justice system. A defendant’s lawyer can argue that these errors resulted in the miscalculation of sentences for the conviction. Your legal team must gather enough evidence to support your argument for such an error.
Conclusion: How to Win an Appeal in Greensboro
Aside from hiring an expert and experienced attorney, you must determine significant grounds for filing an appeal. Paying attention to details is also critical to filing an appeal in North Carolina.
So, how long does it take to appeal a criminal case? It differs on a case-to-case basis. Some might take one month, and others might take years. On average, it takes the court six months to determine the result of an appeal. Individuals can file an appeal up to three times, but it varies based on the unique circumstances of the case.