Being convicted of DUI (even for a first offense) is a serious crime that results in severe penalties. Depending on the outcome of your case, you may feel that your conviction or your sentence is unjust due to errors in the legal system. If this is the case, you may appeal your conviction to a higher court.
When I can make an appeal?
Nationwide, most federal and state courts request that appeals be made soon after your conviction or sentence is imposed. You’ll also want to appeal soon after your conviction or sentence to get the ball rolling—it usually takes a few months for the court to hear and eventually make a decision regarding your appeal.
The importance of hiring an attorney
The appeal process requires writing, legal research and paperwork—all of which an experienced attorney can help you with. When you make an appeal to the court, you are referred to as an appellant not a defendant.
In your appeal, you should state why you believe (based on important legal errors) that your DUI case should have been dismissed. Or, you may decide to argue that your case be re-tried or re-sentenced due to legal errors, which could have also influenced a jury’s verdict. When making your appeal, your attorney will assist you with this part of the process, which is known as a written brief. Following this, the government will file its own written brief detailing why the conviction or sentence was just. It may be possible for you to file a second brief in order to respond to the government’s position.
During the appeal process, the court will only review the facts of the case that are on the record (such as the court reporter’s transcripts). The appeal process does not include the introduction of any new evidence, rather the court will only review the evidence previously introduced in court. Prior to making a ruling, the court may ask to hear oral arguments from the appellant and the government.
So if you are considering appealing your DUI conviction, make sure you contact a qualified attorney to assist you.