Can I Appeal My Conviction in North Carolina?

If you lost your case at trial and are now facing the reality of a criminal sentence, it is natural to want to explore your options for turning back the clock. If there were mistakes during your trial – and if you could fix those mistakes – maybe you could avoid a guilty verdict and get back to your normal life.

In a typical case, the way to challenge a criminal conviction is to file an appeal. Not all mistakes are grounds to file an appeal, but many are. The following are examples of errors that will often constitute grounds to file a criminal appeal:

Grounds to Appeal a Criminal Conviction in North Carolina

1. False Arrest

In order to make an arrest, the police must have probable cause, and, unless an exception applies, they must also have a warrant. If the police arrested you without probable cause or without a warrant (under circumstances in which a warrant was required), this can be grounds to have your conviction overturned on appeal.

2. Insufficient Evidence

In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecutor is required to use the available evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is insufficient to meet this burden of proof but the jury convicts you anyway, this may be grounds for you to seek a new trial.

3. Improper Admission or Exclusion of Evidence

You may also be entitled to an appeal if the judge improperly admitted or excluded evidence from your trial. In a criminal case, there are a variety of reasons why evidence may be inadmissible (for example, if it was obtained through an improper search or seizure), and there are complex rules about when evidence can and cannot be used in court. If the judge got it wrong, and if the judge’s error affected the outcome of your case, you may be entitled to have your conviction overturned.

4. Prosecutor or Juror Misconduct

Prosecutors are required to pursue their cases ethically and consistently with the law and the U.S. Constitution. Similarly, jurors owe a duty to consider all of the admissible evidence (and only the admissible evidence) and render an unbiased verdict based on the proceedings they witness in court. If the prosecutor in your case overstepped his or her ethical or legal bounds, or if a juror allowed his or her decision to be affected by factors other than the evidence presented at trial, you may be entitled to an appeal.

5. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

As a criminal defendant, you have the right to effective legal representation. Your attorney should be able to effectively apply the law to the facts of your case and address issues as they come up in court in order to protect your right to a fair trial.

Not all mistakes will rise to the level of ineffective representation – defense attorneys need to make judgment calls, and sometimes the cards do not fall in their clients’ favor – but, if your trial lawyer truly failed to represent your best interests, you deserve to have another day in court.

Speak With a Raleigh Criminal Appeal Attorney Today

To find out if you have grounds to file an appeal, contact us for a confidential consultation. Call (919) 833-3114 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal appeal attorney today.