Virginia Criminal Appeal Lawyers

Even experienced Judges can make mistakes with their rulings.
As a result of these mistakes, a criminal defendant may receive an unfair sentence.

The legal system in Virginia can be very intimidating. Many defendants accept their sentences without question and endure a lifetime of injustice. Frequently, when a criminal case is examined by a skilled Virginia appellate lawyer, potential causes for your inappropriate sentence are uncovered.

The criminal appeal process in Virginia is designed to give defendants another chance to present their case in front of a higher court

Some of the most common mistakes that result in a criminal appeal are:

  • The trial court may have excluded defense evidence that should have been heard by the jury
  • The court may have permitted the jury to hear prosecution evidence that should have been excluded
  • Prosecutors can make unintentional errors or engage in intentional misconduct
  • Defense attorneys can make mistakes which deprive the defendant of the effective assistance of counsel.

A person convicted of a crime has a number of options for seeking further redress from the criminal justice system – including an appeal for the abolition of criminal conviction or commutation of the sentence. Learn about post-conviction remedies available to persons convicted of a crime.

Basic criminal appeals:

The appeal is to review the activities of the Court of First Instance for legal error. The Court of Appeal only reviews the “record” of lower court proceedings, and will not consider new evidence. The record consists of the minutes of the court records from the judge, lawyers and witnesses. Any documents or objects included in the evidence will become part of the record. The attractive party sends a “summary”; a written explanation of the errors claimed in the appeal. The opposition often presents a brief file challenging the appeal and demanding conviction and sentence. It is usually allowed briefly, and in some cases the court allows oral arguments from both sides before the decision is taken.

Appeal winning:

Winning on appeal can be very difficult. The prosecution in the trial must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. Upon appeal, the defendant has to prove that the mistake was made and that the error was serious. Errors that do not affect fundamental rights are ignored as harmless. In addition to bearing the burden of proof, the defendant must also object to the fact that the appellate courts are much deferred to the findings of the lower court. They believe that the judge and the jury were present for trial, and thus give their views to power only if the mistakes or misjudgments have happened.

If in any case the appeal to the board for criminal act went successful, it is opposite of conviction. These are relatively rare, but some types of errors are so terrible that they are assumed to be harmful, such as forced confessions, and if proven can lead to a reversal. The courts of appeal are more reluctant to overturn sentencing decisions. An important exception is where the sentence falls outside the scope of the legal guidelines. In such cases, the Court of Appeal may refer the case to the Court of First Instance for appeal under the proper criteria.

Writs and Habeas Corpus

A writ is a document or order from a higher court directing a court or lower official to take a specific action. The criminal may normally appeal to a higher authority only once, but may file several cases arising out of the same trial, or several different types of orders for the same matter. It is seen as an unusual remedy and is not normally granted when there is another avenue of address, such as appeal, available. He writes to help the criminals in challenging a case that cannot be appealed upon appeal.

Habeas Corpus is an order used to challenge the legal basis of the convicted prison or the circumstances in which they are held. Habeas Corpus is a great defense against indefinite detention without charge, and aims to verify government authority and provide prisoners with a legal means to protest their imprisonment.

  • § 19.2-398. When appeal by the Commonwealth allowed.

A. In a felony case a pretrial appeal from a circuit court may be taken by the Commonwealth from:

1. An order of a circuit court dismissing a warrant, information or indictment, or any count or charge thereof on the ground that (i) the defendant was deprived of a speedy trial in violation of the provisions of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of Virginia, or § 19.2-243; or (ii) the defendant would be twice placed in jeopardy in violation of the provisions of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States or Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of Virginia; or

2. An order of a circuit court prohibiting the use of certain evidence at trial on the grounds such evidence was obtained in violation of the provisions of the Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States or Article I, Section 8, 10 or 11 of the Constitution of Virginia prohibiting illegal searches and seizures and protecting rights against self-incrimination, provided the Commonwealth certifies that the appeal is not taken for purpose of delay and that the evidence is substantial proof of a fact material in the proceeding.

B. A petition for appeal may be taken by the Commonwealth in a felony case from any order of release on conditions pursuant to Article 1 (§ 19.2-119 et seq.) of Chapter 9 of this title.

C. A petition for appeal may be taken by the Commonwealth in a felony case after conviction where the sentence imposed by the circuit court is contrary to mandatory sentencing or restitution terms required by statute.

D. Nothing in this chapter shall affect the Commonwealth’s right to appeal in civil matters or cases involving a violation of law relating to the state revenue or appeals pursuant to § 17.1-411 or subsection C of § 19.2-317.

E. A pretrial appeal may be taken in any criminal case from an order of a circuit court dismissing a warrant, information, summons, delinquency petition, or indictment, or any count or charge thereof, on the ground that a statute or local ordinance on which the order is based is unconstitutional.

The SRIS Law Group lawyers assist clients in the following counties in Virginia:

If you need the help of a lawyer in VA with this type of a case in Fairfax, City of Fairfax, Prince William (Manassas), Fauquier (Warrenton), Loudoun (Leesburg), Caroline, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Chesterfield, Henrico, Arlington, Richmond, Alexandria, Warren (Front Royal), Clarke, Shenandoah, King George, Charles City, Frederick, Fredericksburg, Gloucester, Hanover, Hopewell, James City, King & Queen, King William, New Kent, Newport News, Petersburg, Prince George, Rappahannock or York.