Orlando Criminal Appeals Lawyer
In most trials, prosecutors as well as defense attorneys play by the rules, and the judge makes the correct legal decisions. But some trials are unfair. Perhaps a prosecutor played fast and loose with the rules, or perhaps the judge made the wrong decision. Other times, the law itself is unfair and needs to be changed. All these scenarios may lead to successful criminal appeals.
The aggressive Orlando criminal appeals lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group stand up for your rights during both criminal trials and criminal appeals. We understand that an aggressive nature is useless without thorough preparation. So, we hit the law books with the same tenacity that we use against prosecutors. We also go back over the facts, looking for things that everyone else might have missed. As a result, we are well-positioned to protect your rights, even if we need to go to the highest court in the country to do it.
The Five Basic Grounds for Appeal in Florida
In many ways, an appeals court is a lot like a sport’s governing body. For example, the NCAA has the power to punish schools that break the rules and reverse clearly erroneous outcomes. Similarly, a criminal appeals court can reverse clearly erroneous trial outcomes and also ensure that trial courts properly follow the law the next time around.
But there is at least one big difference. The NCAA can only enforce current rules. But an appeals court can also change the rules, if an attorney convinces the judges that such a change is necessary.
Both Florida appeals courts and federal appeals courts exercise their power in several different ways. The most prominent ones are:
- Modification of Existing Law: Assertive and well-prepared attorneys were behind some of the most significant decisions in legal history. These lawyers saw a deficiency in the law, and the appeals court judges were brave enough to make a necessary change.
- Plain Error: If the trial judge makes a mistake that affects the defendant’s substantial rights, an appeals court might be able to reverse the outcome, even if the defense attorney did not object. Sentence miscalculations are a good example of plain error situations.
- Abuse of Discretion: This grounds for appeal is rather subjective. Judges generally have a great deal of discretion. But sometimes, they cross the line and make decisions which are “clearly unreasonable, erroneous, or arbitrary and not supported by the facts or law in the case.”
- Insufficient Evidence: Appeals courts do not retry cases. They just review the factual records. So, appeals judges are in no position to second-guess evidentiary decisions, at least in most cases. A few instances are game-changers, such as DNA evidence which was unavailable at the time.
- Ineffective Assistance of Counsel: These appeals are not easy to win either. Often, appeals courts use the mirror test in these cases. If the lawyer breathes onto a mirror and the mirror fogs up, then the defendant had effective assistance of counsel. However, the outcome might be different if the attorney’s license was suspended or there were other special circumstances.
Florida appeals courts usually handle state appeals matters, and federal appeals courts usually handle questions of federal law.
Count on Dedicated Attorneys
Criminal appeals give many criminal defendants a second chance. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Orlando, contact the O’Mara Law Group. Convenient payment plans are available.