A criminal appeal lawyer can help you appeal any criminal offence to get your conviction or harsh sentence overturned. Our team at Murphy Dolan Criminal Defence can also help you suspend any ancillary orders such as a judicial suspension of your driver’s license or probation while you await the outcome of your appeal. Whether you are appealing against a conviction or you are responding to a crown appeal, we advise you to contact our office and seek legal counsel.
An appeal is the procedure by which the Crown or an accused person challenges a final court order. An accused person can typically only appeal their conviction or sentence, but there are exceptions, for example: an accused person can appeal a decision denying them bail. The appeal process is a critically important avenue for accused persons to challenge incorrect decisions.
Accused persons, once found guilty, can appeal either their conviction or their sentence or both. Appeals of other findings by the trial or sentencing judge, such as the decision to admit a certain piece of evidence, cannot be appealed before a final decision is rendered. In order to be successful, an accused person must demonstrate that either: (1) the verdict is unreasonable or cannot be supported by the evidence, (2) the trial judge committed an error of law (i.e., interpreted the law incorrectly), or (3) there was a miscarriage of justice. Some examples of instances in which acquittals or retrials were ordered include: erroneous applications of the law, failing to properly instruct a jury, admitting evidence which should not have been admitted, and failing to find a Charter breach when the trial judge ought to have.
When an accused person is successful in challenging his or her conviction, the appeal court may order a retrial, or it may enter an acquittal or a stay of a proceedings. Similarly, when an accused person is successful in challenging his or her sentence, the appeal court can either substitute its own sentence or remit the case back to the sentencing court. A successful appeal may not be final however, as both Crown and defence retain rights to pursue further appeals up to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Appeals are procedurally complicated, even for criminal defence lawyers. An appeal requires careful review of the trial transcript in order to identify meritorious grounds of appeal. An application for bail pending appeal may need to be completed if the accused has been sentenced to incarceration. A persuasive argument, thoroughly researched, must be drafted and delivered to the Court. Notices of the appeal must be filed. Affidavits must be drafted. Fresh evidence may need to be called. Leave for appeal may need to be obtained. Strict deadlines must be observed. If you are considering a criminal appeal, we highly recommend you seek out the advice of defence counsel as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, contact our offices now so we can help address you or your loved one’s legal jeopardy. We are available 24/7. We are forceful advocates and we ensure that our clients throughout Alberta are provided with the best defence possible.