Understanding North Carolina Criminal Appeals

Have you or a loved one been convicted of a crime in North Carolina? Do you still have hope that you might be able to avoid serving jail time? If you have suffered from an unjust criminal verdict or accepted an unfair plea deal, you may have the right to appeal your conviction. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we have helped many clients fight to appeal their criminal convictions in the North Carolina Court of Appeals as well as at the federal level.

Contact Our Charlotte Criminal Appeals Lawyers

Our Charlotte criminal appeals lawyers investigate the details surrounding your case thoroughly. We search through the record of your trial and find any errors that could be grounds for a successful appeal. If there are any grounds for the appellate court to overturn your criminal conviction, we will uncover them. We know how to fight effectively at the appellate level within the North Carolina Judicial System and federal system alike. Contact our Charlotte criminal appeals lawyers today to schedule your case evaluation.

We Have Represented Clients in Many Different Types of Criminal Appeals

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers can guide you through the appellate process in your criminal case. We understand the seriousness of filing an appeal. In many cases, filing an effective and timely appeal is a defendant’s last and only chance to seek justice and freedom. The lawyers on our legal team have extensive trial experience. We can identify errors in your case that can lead to a valid legal appeal. We are prepared to represent criminal appeals for any of the following crimes:

  • White Collar crime
  • Drug Crimes
  • Expungement
  • Violent Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Domestic Violence Criminal Charges
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)/ Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
  • Other Crimes
Do Not Wait to Begin the Appeals Process

If you would like to appeal your North Carolina criminal conviction, you need to act as soon as possible. If you failed to give oral notice of appeal at trial, then you must file a notice of appeal with the clerk of superior court in writing within 14 days after the judge has sentenced you. This process is long, difficult, and extremely technical. To ensure you get the best results it is important to hire an attorney with experience in the criminal appeals process.

The Appeals Process

The first step in an appeals process is the composition of a transcript. The transcript must be prepared by a court reporter. The number of days permitted to prepare a transcript vary depending on the severity of the crime. Once the transcript has been delivered to the defendant’s lawyer, he or she must prepare the Record on Appeal, which explains the possible legal errors that may have kept the defendant from getting a fair trial or sentence.

Once prepared, the Record is served on the prosecutor who handled the initial trial. Once received, the prosecutor can either agree to the Record entirely, object to it in part, or move to add additional information. If the prosecutor and defendant’s attorney are unable to agree upon the Record on Appeal, then the trial judge who heard the initial case, must settle the Record. Once settled, the Record is filed in the proper appellate court.

What Happens Once the Record on Appeal is Filed

Once received by the Attorney General’s Office, the Appellate Section receives the Record and assigns the appeal to an attorney. The State’s attorney then contacts the District Attorney and defendant’s lawyer, requests the trial transcript, and contact any interested witnesses and/or victims.

Once the Record has been mailed to both parties by the Clerk of the Appellate Court, the defendant has to file a brief in support of the legal errors cited in the Record within 30 days, or, if a capital case the defendant has 60 days. Next, the State’s attorney has to file a responsive brief within the same time provided defendant.

Which Court Decides an Appeal?

In non-capital cases, appeals go to the North Carolina Court of Appeals and are heard by a panel of three judges. In a capital case, appeals go directly to the North Carolina Supreme Court and are heard by all seven justices. A decision on appeal does not have to be unanimous, all that is required is a majority – this is the case for appeals in both the N.C. Court of Appeals and the N.C. Supreme Court. The turn around period for a decision on appeal varies on a case-by-case basis in both Courts. The Court may issue an opinion in a little as a month or as long as a year.

Contact Our Charlotte Criminal Appeals Lawyers Today

If you have been convicted of a crime in North Carolina, you may have a right to an appeal. The appeals process is both tenuous and confusing. To ensure that your rights are protected and that all judicial processes are exercised to the fullest degree in your case, contact our experienced criminal appeals attorney’s at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to schedule your case evaluation. Call us at (704) 370-2828 or fill out our contact form online. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville, and Monroe.