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If you are convicted of a criminal offense after a trial, that does not mean that the process is over or that the conviction is necessarily final. Often, there are legal errors that occur during a trial that can impact the outcome of the verdict. You may have had a trial where your attorney did not make proper objections or did not properly prepare for the trial and that lead to your conviction. There are also situations where your attorney was prepared and correctly handled the trial, but the trial judge made incorrect legal rulings that unfairly and negatively impacted your case.

In most situations you have the constitutional right to appeal your conviction to an appellate court. The appellate procedure is complex and involves making legal arguments specific to appeals based on the evidence in the case. In Tennessee State courts, an appeal of a criminal conviction is heard by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. For the Court of Criminal Appeals to hear your case, it is important that your attorney follow the correct steps to initiate your appeal and that your attorney does not miss the deadlines that apply.

When the notice of appeal is filed, your attorney will then file an appellate brief with the Court of Criminal Appeals that explains the facts of your case and legal arguments about why your conviction should be reversed. The State of Tennessee will file their own brief in response against the arguments. The next step is that your attorney and the State’s attorney will have oral argument in front of the Court of Criminal Appeals to orally address the issues that have been raised. After the oral argument, the Court will consider the parties arguments and later issue a written ruling.

If the Court of Criminal Appeals disagrees with the defense position and upholds your conviction, there are several appellate avenues still available. You can petition for the Tennessee Supreme Court to review your case, and in some cases, you might argue that your conviction should be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court, or you might argue that a federal court should issue a writ of habeas corpus to release you from custody. A petition for post-conviction relief might be available, or other appellate petitions could be filed based on newly discovered evidence after your trial.

As complex as the trial process is, the appellate process is also complicated. The best trial attorneys understand how the appellate process works because being successful on appeal requires making certain objections the right way and at the right time at trial. The attorneys at Stephens, DiRado & Caviness, LLP are experienced with handling criminal appeals at all levels. We will work with you to explain the appellate process and review the evidence in your case so that you have the best chance of reversing a criminal conviction on appeal.