A criminal conviction for any sort of offense in Jacksonville need not signal the end of your legal battle. If you were wrongly convicted and want the chance to prove that, the appellate process is there for you to take advantage of. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as saying that you would like to appeal your conviction. A fair amount of research should go into investigating the appeals process from a comprehensive prospective so that you know what to expect and each step.
The first thing to understand is what the purpose of the appeals process actually is. Rather than being a re-trying of your case, it is a judicial review of the decision of the trial court that heard it initially. A judge will review all the relevant facts and determine if a harmful legal error occurred. A “harmful legal error” is defined as any action that may have affected the outcome of your case. For an error to be considered by the appellate court, it must have been recorded by an objection during your trial. What that means is that either you or your attorney objected to it during your original proceedings.
According to the website for the Florida Court Clerks and Controllers, there are three levels of appellate courts. Those different courts (and the types or cases they typically hear) are as follows:
- Circuit Court: Misdemeanors and traffic infractions
- District Court: Felony convictions and juvenile cases
- Florida Supreme Court: Death penalty cases
If the appellate judge does indeed find that the error cited in your appeal did affect the outcome of your case, he or she will submit a brief detailing his or her opinion and contact the lower court with instructions on how to proceed.