On What Grounds Can I Appeal a Conviction in California?

May 10, 2022 by Sarah Edwards in California  Criminal Defense  
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Appealing Criminal Conviction in California

A criminal conviction carries a lot of consequences for you. Finding housing, a job, and even friends can be difficult if you have a criminal record.

If you or your attorney believes you were unjustly convicted of a crime because of an unfair trial, the state of California allows you to file an appeal. An appeal is not the same as a new trial — it is simply a request for an appellate court to review the case.

For your appeal to be successful, the appeals court must conclude that there was a legal error made in your trial and that the error had a significant impact on the outcome. If either of these cannot be clearly illustrated, you will likely lose your appeal.

In addition, you cannot file an appeal simply because you dislike the outcome. You must have specific grounds under which you ask for your case to be reviewed by an appellate court.

Grounds for Appealing Your Criminal Conviction

California provides several options under which you can file for an appeal of your criminal conviction.

Appealing a conviction is complicated, and you should use the help of a skilled appeals attorney. They will be able to help you understand which grounds for your appeal give you the best chance of having your conviction overturned.

Your Arrest Was Improper

When police officers make a wrongful or false arrest, this can be grounds for getting your case overturned. Some examples of an improper arrest include:

  • Being arrested without being properly informed of your Miranda rights
  • Being arrested because of an improper search of your home, office, or vehicle
  • Being arrested without a proper warrant
  • Police force a false confession by using improper interrogation tactics

If your arrest was handled in a way that circumvents the law, this scenario could provide the legal argument you need to have your case reviewed by an appeals court. If they agree that the arrest was improper, your conviction could be overturned.

Evidentiary Issues in Your Trial

The way evidence is handled, introduced, or excluded in a trial is important. Rules are in place to protect the rights of the defendant. When mistakes are made regarding how evidence is handled or presented, you may have solid grounds for an appeal.

The appeals court can determine whether the evidence was improperly included or excluded. They can also examine whether the amount of evidence was sufficient for the jury to reasonably come to their conclusion. If anything about the evidence used in your trial is in doubt, your case could be overturned.

Misconduct by the Prosecutor

Prosecutors can sometimes have a “win-at-all-costs” attitude when trying cases. This can lead them to employ improper and even dishonest methods in an attempt to obtain a conviction. Examples of prosecutorial misconduct include:

  • Making comments about evidence the judge ruled could not be used in your trial
  • Knowingly making misstatements about evidence or the relevant laws
  • Manipulating the jury’s emotions

If the appeals court determines that the prosecutor’s wrongful actions significantly impacted your case, they may decide in your favor when considering your appeal.

Misconduct by the Jury

Sometimes a jury’s action or inaction can cause a criminal conviction to be changed. Improper behavior by a jury can deprive the defendant of their right to a fair trial. Jury misconduct can happen when:

  • There is improper communication between the jury and a lawyer or a witness
  • There is alcohol or drug use by one or more jurors during deliberations
  • The jury will not engage in deliberations

In some cases where jury misconduct can be proven, it is easier to win your appeal. This is because it will be up to the prosecutor to prove that the jury misconduct did not affect the outcome of your case.

What Happens If You Win Your Appeal?

If you win your appeal in a California appellate court, one of three things can happen:

  1. The decision in your case is reversed, and the charges against you are dismissed
  2. The court may grant you a new trial
  3. The court will “remand” or send back your case to the lower court with instructions to remedy the issue

The grounds of your appeal and the strength of your case are factors in determining how the appellate court will remedy your incorrect conviction. Because the stakes are high, you should use the services of an attorney with experience presenting cases to an appeals court.

The Esfandi Law Group represents those who have been convicted of a crime but believe they have grounds for an appeal.

Call us today if you believe that you have a solid legal case that could overturn your conviction. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation where we can discuss the details of your case and review your legal options.

Do You Need to Appeal a Conviction for a Crime?

You need an experienced lawyer to fight for your freedom and your rights.

Need a Criminal Defense Attorney? CALL NOW: 310-274-6529

Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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