Phoenix Criminal Appeals Lawyer

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PHOENIX CRIMINAL APPEALS Attorney

The stakes are high when handling an appeal. You have been convicted of a crime and now want to challenge that conviction. If successful, the conviction may be overturned or modified. This could help you avoid high fines, years in prison, and the loss of constitutional rights like the right to vote or own a gun.

An appeal shows that you are not going to just accept the conviction and that you are still willing to fight for your rights. At Grand Canyon Law Group, our relentless defense attorneys have argued appellate cases for years and know how to properly handle your case. Let a Phoenix criminal appeals lawyer take up your case and work tirelessly on your behalf.

DEFINITION OF APPEALS

An appeal is a procedure that asks a higher court—the appeals court—to modify or overturn the conviction of the trial court. After a person is convicted in Phoenix, they have the right to work with an experienced attorney to file an appeal with the Arizona Courts of Appeals, which reviews the decisions of lower courts. Importantly, if a person accepted a plea deal or pled no contest, they may not make a direct appeal. Direct appeals are only available to those convicted through trial.

An appeal gives the court a chance to look over the case and review it for errors. The appeals court is given information about what occurred at the trial level and what errors the defense attorney believes occurred. A dedicated lawyer can file an appellate brief that outlines these issues and make legal arguments on the defendant’s behalf.

REASONS TO APPEAL A CONVICTION IN PHOENIX

The dedicated attorneys at our firm will look for errors in the record to determine if there are any issues that may be raised on appeal. A skilled lawyer can make a strong appeals case by:

  • Refuting prosecutor arguments
  • Showing errors in how evidence was admitted
  • Showing errors in sentencing
  • Demonstrating prosecutor or judicial misconduct

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN APPEAL?

After the appeal argument process has concluded, there are several potential outcomes.

AFFIRMATION

For one, the appellate court might affirm the trial court’s decision. An affirmation means that the appellate court reviewed the case and found no errors, or only found errors that were not material to the outcome of the case. This means the appellate court will not alter the person’s conviction in any way.

MODIFICATION

The appeals court may also modify the decision or remand the decision back to the trial court to modify. This sends the case back to the trial court to fix some error. This may just require a procedural fix that can be easily corrected or could require a new trial depending on the circumstances.

REVERSAL

In some cases, the appeals court may reverse the trial court’s findings and dismiss the criminal charges against the defendant. This usually happens when errors in the court or prosecutor’s conduct are so significant that they contaminated the whole case. It may also occur if the appellate court finds that there was insufficient evidence to prove the case. A well-practiced Phoenix attorney can advise a convicted person on what to expect in their appeals process.

Common Grounds for an Appeal

The appeal process is not a new trial. This means that there’s not a presentation of evidence, calling witnesses, or anything like that. Instead, the appeal process acts as an assessment of the original trial. It evaluates whether or not the trial functioned the way that it was expected to. This means everything from procedural issues to whether or not the law was being interpreted properly are considered.

The appeals court also assesses whether or not everyone was doing their job properly. In particular, they evaluate the decisions of the judge. They will even take a look at the actions of your lawyer to ensure that you received a fair defense. There are many different parts of a trial where any error could have been made. It’s the job of an appeals court to consider what’s been brought to them as potential errors and determine if they warrant any particular action to address them.

It’s important to note that the error will have to have been an impactful one. Just because a legal error occurred does not necessarily guarantee that an appeal will change anything. The error that is the basis of the appeal will need to have caused a substantial enough error to have had an impact on the outcome of the criminal trial. If an error is determined to not have impacted the rights of the defendant, then it may be considered harmless.

Plain Error

If there was a severe error of law that occurred in your trial, it may be considered a plain error. These are often issues of misapplication of the law, such as the miscalculation of a sentence, for example.

For these errors to warrant some kind of change by the appeals court, it must be shown that if they weren’t made, it would have materially impacted the outcome of the trial. In some cases, it may be argued that the verdict would have differed, but even with a miscalculated sentence, the case can be sent back for resentencing.

Abuse of Discretion

Judges are given a significant responsibility in criminal trials. They are responsible for how the trials will progress and what both sides will be allowed to argue. Because each criminal accusation, and thus trial, is unique, judges are given quite a bit of leeway in their opportunity to use their own discretion regarding several issues throughout the trial and before.

The appellate court can assess whether a judge has made an error in using the discretion afforded to them. However, these courts don’t want to interfere too much with a judge’s authority. Because of this, they will only act if the judge’s actions are very clearly out of line. It may have been an error or an arbitrary decision. If you can show that the facts of the case didn’t support the judge’s choice, the appellate court may rule in your favor.

Insufficient Weight of Evidence

The outcome of a trial should depend on what the evidence presents. Appealing a trial on the grounds of insufficient weight of evidence suggests that there was not enough evidence to warrant the decisions made by the jury. This is generally a very difficult argument to make. However, the court will look at written briefs and the transcripts of the trial. They will not often, though, be hearing any witnesses or looking at the evidence presented in the trial.

One tactic that may be effective is for your attorney to challenge the validity of certain evidence. The appellate court may find that evidence that shouldn’t have been allowed into the trial was let in by the judge. If they believe that this evidence had an impact on the outcome of the trial, it’s possible that the appellate court would rule on the issue.

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

One potential issue that could have impacted the verdict of your trial is if your representation failed to act properly. This could have been a violation of your rights, as you have a right to a fair trial and representation. However, if that representation was inadequate, then it could be argued that you didn’t receive the representation you were meant to have.

In assessing the matter of ineffective assistance of counsel, the question will not be whether your representation was ineffective in the criminal defense process but rather whether or not ineffective representation had a material impact on the trial in a way that made the verdict unreliable. In other words, if your lawyer was ineffective, but their failures cannot be seen as having made the trial unfair, then it’s likely that the conviction will be upheld. This is assessed on impact, not on action.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

One important protection that defendants have is the opportunity to file a writ of habeas corpus. This is a petition filed to a federal court. That court will consider issues that could be considered a violation of your constitutional rights. These rights are described by the U.S. Constitution and, therefore, apply to all defendants, regardless of their state.

The constitutional rights that may have been violated include:

  • Right to Remain Silent. You have the right not to say something that could be incriminating or distorted to be incriminating. This is why you can choose to remain silent and have your representation speak on your behalf.
  • Right to a Public Trial. One of the things that ensures justice can be public pressure, so it’s important that a trial be public.
  • Right to a Speedy Trial. It’s a violation of your rights to hold you in limbo by waiting too long to try you.
  • Right to a Jury Trial. It’s important that the consensus of a jury be used to convict a defendant, not just one person’s perspective.
  • Right to Confront Witnesses. The claim of a witness should be held to some scrutiny for justice to have been upheld.
  • Right to Representation by an Attorney. As the prosecution is performed by someone who practices law, you also have a right to a lawyer for your representation.

APPEALING AN ASSAULT CONVICTION IN PHOENIX

Human interaction can sometimes go wrong and even get physical. A difference of opinion or a misunderstanding can turn into a conflict, and you might find yourself facing assault charges.

An assault charge and conviction results in serious consequences, such as hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time. The good news: you might have the option of appealing an assault conviction in Phoenix.

WHAT AN ASSAULT CONVICTION MEANS FOR YOU

State law defines the crime of assault and penalties for an assault conviction. As defined by Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1203, assault means:

  • Causing a physical injury to another person—intentionally or knowingly becomes a Class 1 misdemeanor, while recklessly becomes Class 2
  • Putting another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury—Class 2 misdemeanor
  • Knowingly touching someone with intent to injure, insult, or provoke them—Class 3 misdemeanor

Misdemeanor convictions result in fines and jail time, as laid out by A. R. S. § 13-707 and Arizona’s Criminal Code Sentencing Provisions. For example, intentionally assaulting someone and causing a physical injury as a Class 1 misdemeanor results in a maximum sentence of 6 months, a maximum fine of $2,500, and 3 years on probation. But a Class 3 misdemeanor, such as the touching with intent mentioned above, has maximum punishments of 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, and 1 year of probation.

Assault can also turn into aggravated assault and receive harsher penalties. Assault that causes serious injury, uses a deadly weapon, or occurs against certain victims (law enforcement, emergency services, health care workers, teachers, prosecutors, and public defenders) becomes aggravated assault and becomes punishable as a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Also, multiple misdemeanors in a two-year period increases the Class of the offense to the next one up, resulting in more jail time and higher fines. If you have a prior misdemeanor conviction or do not want to get your first, you should think about appealing a conviction with the help of our attorneys in Phoenix. Time is limited so you need to call us ASAP.

HOW TO APPEAL AN ASSAULT CONVICTION

Both a criminal defendant and the state have the right to make an appeal. The options for defendants are limited to just a few outcomes, as criminal defendants can only appeal any of the following under A. R. S. § 13-4033: final judgment or conviction; denial of new trial; order after judgment affecting your substantial rights; illegal or excessive sentence.

In cases that do not have the death penalty, you cannot appeal a plea agreement or an admission of violating probation. Also, you must appear for sentencing within 90 days of conviction to appeal that conviction or a denial of new trial, unless your absence was not by choice.

When hearing an appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court can overturn a conviction or order a new trial. The Court can also modify any order after a conviction and affect later proceedings. If appealing a sentence following conviction, the Court can correct an illegal sentence, reduce an excessive sentence, or replace a sentence with an appropriate one under A. R. S. § 13-4037.

If you look to appeal an assault conviction, a Phoenix lawyer with extensive experience can help. Grand Canyon Law Group can review your trial, conviction, and sentencing to evaluate whether you should appeal.

Any trial can place a huge weight on you as a defendant, and a conviction only adds to that. But if you might be appealing an assault conviction in Phoenix, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

APPEALING A DRUG CONVICTION IN PHOENIX

Drugs continue to attract the attention of both law enforcement attempting to crack down and activists seeking more tolerance for drug use and users. Currently, the consequences of a drug conviction remain severe in terms of jail time, fines, and lengthy stretches of probation.

You can appeal a drug conviction shortly after a jury’s decision but you must act FAST. Grand Canyon Law Group’s appeals attorneys have a wealth of experience as former prosecutors now practicing criminal defense, and we can help you fight for your future and avoid the worst penalties by appealing a drug conviction in Phoenix. Calls us now.

DRUG CONVICTIONS

First, you should know just how bad a drug conviction in Phoenix can be for you and your future. Most drug crimes fall into the category of possession and sale of controlled substances and are classified as felonies, anywhere from a Class 2 felony to a less severe Class 4 felony.

The state provides Criminal Code Sentencing Guidelines to illustrate the possible penalties for drug felony convictions, including minimum sentences for each Class of felony. For example, a Class 2 felony—say for the sale of cocaine under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3408—has a shortest sentence of 3 years and a longest sentence of 12.5 years, but a Class 4 felony for the possession of a small amount of cocaine only has a sentence ranging from 1 year to 3.75 years. Probation time also varies by Class, such as 7 years’ probation for Class 2 but only 4 years for Class 4.

These sentencing guidelines apply to someone convicted of their first felony; penalties increase to longer prison sentences and removal of probation for multiple offenses. Based in Phoenix, our attorneys can advise you on whether to appeal your drug conviction, which could prevent a second or subsequent conviction from taking effect and raising the mandatory sentence. It is important to CALL NOW to make sure you do not miss your opportunity.

THE APPEAL PROCESS AFTER A DRUG CONVICTION

Anyone party to a criminal prosecution can make an appeal, as established by A.R.S. § 13-4031, but the options for defendants are more limited. Criminal defendants can appeal any of the following under A. R. S. § 13-4033:

  • A final judgment or conviction
  • Denial of a new trial
  • Order after judgment affecting substantial rights
  • An illegal or excessive sentence

In noncapital cases—prosecutions not resulting in the death penalty—a defendant cannot appeal from a plea agreement or admission of a probation violation. Also, a defendant must appear for sentencing within 90 days of conviction to appeal a final judgment or denial of a new trial, unless the absence was involuntary.

On appeal, the State Supreme Court can reverse a conviction or order a new trial under A. R. S. § 13-4036. It can also modify any order from after a conviction and any later proceeding. If appealing from a sentence, the Court has authority to correct an illegal sentence and to reduce or replace an excessive sentence with an appropriate one.

If you seek to appeal a drug conviction in Phoenix, you will need to quickly get an experienced lawyer by your side. Our attorneys are available 24/7 and can review your case to see if you can and should appeal from a conviction, a post-judgment order, or from sentencing.

Drug convictions can cost you years of your life in prison and on probation. A conviction can also set you up for larger penalties for later violations, so avoiding a conviction can only help you. But you need to ACT NOW.

If you want to know more about appealing a drug conviction in Phoenix, make an appointment with Grand Canyon Law Group.

APPEALING A DUI CONVICTION IN PHOENIX

Despite the commonplace use of alcohol in the United States and the growing use of other drugs—such as marijuana and tobacco through vaping and e-cigarettes—driving under the influence (DUI) remains illegal. Whether driven by emotion, addiction, or overconfidence in your own driving abilities, a DUI charge can seriously affect your livelihood and future.

If you have lost at trial and are considering appealing a DUI conviction in Phoenix, you will need a lawyer familiar with Arizona’s appeals structure. Our criminal appeals attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group can take the knowledge they have gained from their time as prosecutors and push to have your case appealed. However, it is important to ACT NOW.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DUI CONVICTIONS

Trying to operate a vehicle while intoxicated is illegal and dangerous. Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1381 describes driving a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both, as defined by impairment “to the slightest degree” or by a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. For commercial vehicles, a BAC of 0.04 or higher will also result in a DUI charge.

Penalties coming from a DUI conviction can include hundreds or thousands of dollars in fines and short jail stints, or a drug education or treatment program in place of jail time. For more severe DUIs, such as very high BACs over 0.15 and 0.20, fines and prison sentences increase under A. R. S. § 28-1382. Also, if a DUI occurs in certain aggravated scenarios—including with a passenger under 15 years old, while driving on the wrong side of a highway, or with a revoked driver’s license—the DUI becomes a felony.

To prevent a conviction from happening in the first place, you need a skilled DUI attorney from Grand Canyon Law Group to assist. But if you have already been convicted, you can act quickly to hire us for your appeals process.

APPEALS PROCESS FOR DUIS

If you had a DUI conviction in Phoenix, then you have the right to an appeal under A. R. S. § 13-4031. Both the prosecuting attorney representing the state and the defendant can appeal at various points of prosecution, including during trial. However, you as a defendant can only appeal from certain outcomes:

  • Conviction by judge or jury
  • An order denying a new trial
  • Post-judgment orders affecting your substantial rights
  • Illegal or excessive sentencing

For prosecutions not resulting in the death penalty—also known as noncapital cases—a defendant cannot appeal from a plea agreement or admission of a probation violation. Also, you must appear for sentencing within 90 days of conviction to appeal a final judgment or denial of a new trial, unless you can show that your absence was involuntary. It is important to consult with a lawyer quickly.

On appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court handles any changes to the outcome that you appeal. The Court can reverse a conviction or order a new trial and it can modify any post-judgment orders and later proceedings. If your appeal claims an illegal or excessive sentence, then the Court has authority under to correct the illegal sentence and to reduce or replace an excessive sentence with a more appropriate one.

With an experienced lawyer by your side, you might be able to appeal a DUI conviction in Phoenix. After contacting us, the Grand Canyon Law Group can review your case to see if you can appeal from a conviction, a post-judgment order, or from sentencing in line with the state’s requirements.

SPEAK TO A PHOENIX ATTORNEY ABOUT APPEALING YOUR DUI CONVICTION

After a DUI conviction, you might not know what to do next, but you should not give up hope! Appealing a DUI conviction in Phoenix remains an option to overturn your conviction, and prevent prior convictions from stacking up and costing you more freedom and money. But time is limited.

Grand Canyon Law Group will bring a wealth of experience to your case as former prosecutors now working in criminal defense. If you are thinking about an appeal, call our office as soon as possible after a conviction to learn your options.

APPEALING A FIREARM CONVICTION IN PHOENIX

The penalties associated with weapons charges can have a devastating impact on your life moving forward. In addition to jail time and fines, you might also lose your right to own or possess a gun. If you are found guilty at trial, the appellate process might be your last chance at avoiding these penalties.

Appealing a firearm conviction in Phoenix could overturn the judgment against you, result in a reduced sentence, or even lead to the dismissal of your charges. This process is complex, which means you need to call Grand Canyon Law Group and get proper advice from a seasoned criminal appeal lawyer today.

WHAT IS AN FIREARM APPEAL?

When a person is convicted of a gun offense, there may still be an opportunity to avoid a conviction. This is possible by appealing the trial decision. An appeal involves the defendant requesting a higher court to review the trial judgment.

In Phoenix, there are different courts that might hear firearm conviction appeals. The highest possible level of appeal is the Arizona Supreme Court, but there are also intermediate appellate courts that might take up the case first.

These hearings are different from the initial trial. In fact, there might not be hearings at all. In some cases, the appellate courts will make a ruling or refuse to hear the case without the defendant ever appearing in front of them. When hearings are required, they do not involve witnesses or evidence like in a trial scenario. The courts can only consider the record as it exists from the original trial when making a decision.

GROUNDS FOR APPEALING A GUN CONVICTION

While anyone can file an appeal, these efforts are only successful when the defendant can establish sufficient grounds. Common appeals grounds include the following:

  • Jury misconduct
  • Illegal sentence
  • Ineffective assistance of legal counsel
  • Improper admission of evidence

An attorney in Phoenix can review all of the factors related to appealing a firearm conviction. Call Grand Canyon Law Group to see if you have the potential for a successful appeal.

POSSIBLE OUTCOMES

The decisions made by an appellate court can vary. These judges have different options in front of them, and it is often impossible to predict what they might decide. In fact, appealing a Phoenix firearm conviction often results in the judges affirming the decision of the trial court. This ultimately means that the guilty verdict remains in place permanently.

Other appeals have better outcomes for the accused. If the court determines that the defendant was treated unfairly, they might order a new trial. This is common when important evidence is either included or excluded unlawfully. In this scenario, the case is returned to the trial judge for additional proceedings.

Appellate courts also have the power to sustain the conviction but order a new sentencing hearing. Some of the reasons this might occur include the trial judge failing to take into account any time served or issuing a sentence that is longer than the statutory maximum.

In limited cases, the judges might dismiss the case entirely. This occurs when it is determined that there are legal grounds that prevent the state from pursuing the conviction any further.

When you have been convicted on weapons charges, you have a narrow window of time to appeal, which is why you must CALL NOW. This process can result in a new trial, among other favorable outcomes. Before appealing a firearm conviction in Phoenix on your own, we highly recommend seeking out legal counsel from Grand Canyon Law Group for a private consultation.

RELIEF FOR INEFFECTIVE COUNSEL IN PHOENIX

Many people think that once they plead guilty or nolo contendere to a crime, they must accept their sentence and move on. Someone convicted after a trial might know they have a right to appeal, but appeals are time-consuming and can be expensive.

There is an alternative! Fewer people know about the process called post-conviction relief. It allows someone to petition the trial court to reconsider a criminal case or the sentence the court imposed under certain circumstances.

One of the reasons a court might grant a petition for post-conviction relief is if the defendant proves they did not receive good legal representation. When you believe your lawyer did not do all they should have for you, contact our talented criminal attorneys at Grand Canyon Law Group TODAY. We can review your case and determine whether you have grounds for relief for ineffective counsel in Phoenix.

THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF (PCR) PROCESS

Arizona Judicial Rule 32 offers the opportunity for post-conviction relief (PCR) to people who were convicted after a trial, and Rule 33 governs requests for PCR from people who pled guilty or nolo contendere and received a criminal sentence. The person seeking PCR is the petitioner. Our Phoenix attorneys can file a petition asking for a reconsideration of a verdict or a sentence reduction.

A court can refuse the request for relief and dismiss it. In that case, the conviction and sentence will stand. Sometimes the judge schedules an evidentiary hearing to explore the reasons the defendant asserted for seeking post-conviction relief.

There are several grounds for seeking post-conviction relief, including a change in the law, new evidence, and ineffective assistance of counsel. If the defendant proves their case by a preponderance of the evidence, the court can change the verdict or adjust the sentence. This is something you may be able to take advantage of, so call us quickly.

DETERMINING WHETHER LEGAL REPRESENTATION WAS EFFECTIVE

Someone seeking post-conviction relief on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel must show that their lawyer failed to do a reasonable job in defending them. Someone seeking PCR must meet a two-pronged test to show their attorney was ineffective.

COUNSEL’S PERFORMANCE FELL BELOW REASONABLE STANDARDS

A defendant seeking post-conviction relief must present specific examples of poor performance by their lawyer. Their attorney’s work must have been clearly poor compared with other lawyers providing criminal defense in the area. A lawyer was not necessarily ineffective just because another lawyer might have done things differently.

A court might find that a defendant had ineffective counsel if their lawyer missed court dates or was unprepared for trial. A lawyer who did not follow up on a possible alibi or other defense, did not interview witnesses, did not challenge the prosecutor’s evidence, or did not cross-examine witnesses effectively or at all, might have been ineffective. A court might find a lawyer was ineffective if they clearly misunderstood the law as it applied to the defendant’s case.

LAWYER’S FAILINGS CHANGED THE OUTCOME

Someone trying to prove ineffective assistance of counsel also must show that the defendant would have received a better result if their lawyer had done a better job. If the mistakes or omissions the defendant proved were unlikely to have resulted in a different outcome, a court will not provide post-conviction relief. Call Grand Canyon Law Group to learn if this situation applies to you!

TYPES OF POST-CONVICTION RELIEF AVAILABLE

A court that finds a defendant’s counsel was ineffective could take several different steps, depending on the circumstances. One of our Phoenix attorneys could discuss the type of relief a person should ask for in a PCR petition.

A court could vacate a conviction. If the court takes this step, the prosecutor has the option to refile the charges and prosecute the case again. The court could also vacate the conviction and order a new trial.

Many requests for post-conviction relief concern plea agreements. If a court finds that a lawyer did an unreasonably poor job when negotiating a plea bargain or explaining it to the defendant, the judge might set aside the plea agreement. A court also could modify or reduce a sentence or set it aside entirely.

When your lawyer does a poor job, you should not have to pay for their incompetence. When you can prove your lawyer’s mistakes had an impact on the outcome of your case, you could ask the trial judge to set aside your conviction, schedule a new trial, or change your sentence. You have options!

REACH OUT TO AN APPEALS ATTORNEY IN PHOENIX

Even if you have been convicted, it is important to remember that you still have legal options. Consult a knowledgeable attorney right away to discuss an appeal in your case. The deadlines for filing are short, so it is crucial to speak with a qualified appellate attorney as soon as possible.

At Grand Canyon Law Group, a Phoenix appeals lawyer is ready to assist you and fight tirelessly for your rights. Contact us today to get started.

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