Notice of Appeal

How do I start the process of appealing my criminal case?Who do I need to tell that I am appealing my criminal case?

If a person is found guilty of a crime, the guilty verdict can be appealed in one of two ways. First, a person found guilty of a crime can announce to the court that he or she is appealing the judgment. If an appeal is announced in open court, the judge presiding over the case may require that the person appealing pay a bond while the appeal is pending. The amount and terms of the bond are generally at the discretion of the judge who presided over the person’s trial.

If the person appealing a conviction has been convicted of a serious crime, he or she may be remanded to the custody of the State while an appeal is pending. A person appealing a conviction may ask the trial court if he or she may be released while the appeal is pending, and the court may order release pending appeal in its discretion. The court may impose certain restrictions on a person in addition to the payment of a bond. The court may also deny a person’s release pending appeal. Denial of release is common in cases involving violent crimes or those in which the person appealing is either considered a flight risk or a threat to the community.

If a person does not appeal one’s conviction immediately or is unsure whether he or she wants to appeal, in general he or she has ten (10) days to decide. During that time, the person can file a Notice of Appeal to the appropriate appellate court. The Notice of Appeal recites certain information about a person’s case, including the person’s name, the case number, the county in which the case was heard, and a statement of the person’s intention to appeal.

Once the Notice of Appeal is filed, depending on the type of case and the court to which a person is appealing, the case will be docketed—or placed on the appellate court’s calendar. The record on appeal will have to be settled (settling the “record” is a lengthy, complicated process unto itself), and the person will be given a deadline to file an Appellate Brief.

Many criminal defendants may believe the manner and conduct of their trial was unfair. While these feelings are important, they will not form the basis of a successful appeal of a criminal case in North Carolina. In order to succeed in an appeal of a criminal case in North Carolina, a person must demonstrate to the applicable court of appeal that one’s conviction was won through some error in law or court procedure, through the violation of a state statute, through the violation of Constitutional rights, or through prejudice caused by errors or intentional conduct directed at the person during one’s trial.

While the foregoing list is not exhaustive, the recognized reasons for appealing a criminal conviction in North Carolina are limited. Any person considering an appeal should educate oneself on the laws applicable to one’s own case and seek to determine whether any obvious errors or Constitutional or other violations occurred during trial such that success on appeal is a reasonable probability.

Appellate law is tremendously complicated, and even experienced attorneys can get tripped up on special appellate rules, procedures and deadlines. Without the assistance of an experienced appellate attorney, a litigant in a criminal appellate case may find oneself at a distinct disadvantage.

The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are experienced in fighting for their clients in State and Federal courts, and are well-versed in appellate procedures and strategies. If you have been convicted of a crime and need to appeal your case—or if you have already begun your appeal and need help completing it—contact the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today. The deadline to give Notice of your appeal is short, so do not delay. Call Arnold & Smith, PLLC now at (704) 370-2828 or Contact Us Here for a free consultation to see what we can do for you.