Ways to Appeal a North Carolina Criminal Conviction

If you have recently been convicted of a crime in North Carolina, you are likely wondering about your legal options. There are a number of different ways that you may be able to appeal your conviction under North Carolina law. Procedures for appeal from a magistrate to the district court are provided in Article 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Also provided for in Article 90, is the procedure for appeal from the district court to the superior court. Procedures for appeal to the appellate court are provided in Article 91, as well as Chapter 7A of the General Statutes. Appeals to the appellate court must be perfected and conducted in accordance with the requirements of the provisions in order to be granted.

The appellate process is complicated and differs in procedure on a case-by-case basis. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we have successfully represented many clients in criminal appeals. If you believe that you have been wrongfully convicted, we encourage you to contact our Charlotte criminal appeals lawyers as soon as possible. The deadline to provide notice of your appeal is extremely time sensitive and could be fast approaching. Don’t delay in contacting our experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC.

When can a Convicted Criminal Appeal a Ruling?

Section 15A-1444 of Article 91, outlines when a defendant may appeal a criminal conviction. A defendant who pled not guilty and was nonetheless found guilty of the criminal charge, may as a matter of right, appeal their conviction once final judgment has been entered. Conversely, a convicted defendant is entitled to appeal the issue of evidence supporting their sentence only if the minimum sentence of imprisonment does not fall within the presumptive range for the defendant’s prior record or conviction level and class of offense. Whether a defendant who entered a plea of guilty or no contest in superior court is entitled to appeal their issuing sentence depends on the grounds alleged for correction of error.

Making Your Appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals

The appellate process is somewhat complex. The North Carolina Court of Appeals reviews the lower court’s decisions for errors of law. The appellate court does not retry a defendant’s case. They do not weigh the evidence and make decisions about the case on the merits.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals

Typically, people will appeal a criminal conviction made by the District Court or the Superior Court of North Carolina. They will appeal their decision to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The North Carolina Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court that reviews lower court proceedings for errors of legal procedures or errors of law. The North Carolina Court of Appeals reviews the trial record from the trials that resulted in the defendant’s conviction. The Court of Appeals only decides questions of law, not questions of fact. The main objective of the Court of Appeals is to decide whether or not the trial court that convicted the defendant of a crime made a prejudicial error when conducting the trial.

Requisites for Preserving the Right to Appellate Review

Except as provided in subsection (d) of N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 15A-1446, error may not be asserted upon appellate review unless brought to the attention of the trial court by appropriate and timely objection or motion. The objection or motion must clearly present the alleged error to the trial court in order to preserve the right to assert the alleged error upon appeal. Failing to timely and appropriately motion or object constitutes a waiver of the right to assert the alleged error upon appeal. However, the appellate court may review such errors affecting substantial right in the interest of justice if it determines it appropriate to do so.

Appealing the Decision of the Appellate Court

In the case that your appeal is heard by the North Carolina Court of Appeals and they uphold your criminal convection, all hope is not lost. You may be able to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. You may only appeal if a member of the three-judge panel dissents from the majority decision. When all three judges vote against your appeal, you will not be able to appeal your case to the Supreme Court. At that point, the N.C. Supreme Court itself has discretion as to whether or not to hear your case. Every year, the Supreme Court of North Carolina decides to hear a limited number of appeals. While it is unlikely the Court will choose to hear your appeal, it is possible.

Contact Our Criminal Appeals Lawyers as Soon as Possible

If you have been convicted of a crime in North Carolina, Arnold & Smith, PLLC can help. Contact our experienced Charlotte criminal appeals lawyers today to schedule a 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.