Appealing a Conviction in CaliforniaIf you have been convicted of an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony offense in Orange County, California state law gives you the right to appeal your conviction. However, the appeals process can be very difficult. If you are planning to appeal your conviction, the courts recommend that you speak to a lawyer first.

For one thing, you can’t appeal a court’s verdict simply because you didn’t like the way the trial went or don’t agree with the decision. An appeal is not a new trial. You won’t be able to introduce new evidence. The appellate court will review the evidence (including testimony and exhibits) presented during your court case to determine if certain types of legal errors were made.

These legal errors fall into two categories: prejudicial errors and lack of substantial evidence. Prejudicial errors are legal mistakes made before or during a trial that hurt your case. A lack of substantial evidence means there was not enough evidence presented in your trial to justify the court’s verdict.

Deadlines for Filing an Appeal

There are important deadlines for filing an appeal. If you are appealing a misdemeanor conviction, you’ll only have to file your appeal within 30 days of the date of the judgment or order. If you are appealing a felony conviction, you’ll only have to file your appeal within 60 days of the date of the judgment or order.

Standards of Review

When the appellate court reviews your case, it relies on rules and guidelines called “standards of review” to decide if any mistakes were made during your trial. Different standards of review are applied to different kinds of court decisions. The appellate court will determine the standard of review based on the particular kind of decision-making in your trial court case.

The three most common standards of review are:

  • The abuse of discretion standard. An abuse of discretion occurs when the trial court judge makes a ruling that is arbitrary or absurd.
  • The substantial evidence standard. The appellate court reviews the record to determine if the evidence presented during the trial was substantial enough to reasonably support the trial court’s decision to convict. When applying the substantial evidence standard, the appellate court decides whether a reasonable fact-finder could have come to the same conclusion as the judge and jury based on the facts in the record. No new evidence is considered.
  • The “de novo” standard. De novo is a Latin phrase that means “from the beginning.” This type of review is usually limited to issues involving questions of law, such as the interpretation of a contract or a statute. When applying the de novo standard, the appellate court does not assume the trial court’s ruling is correct but reexamines the case from the beginning (de novo) to determine if errors were made.

Winning an appeal in California is very difficult. The trial court is not obligated to prove it was right; you must be able to prove that they were wrong in their decision to convict you due to legal errors.

If you feel errors made by the court resulted in your conviction, it’s important to take immediate steps to protect your rights. California state law only gives you a limited time in which to appeal a criminal court’s decision. You need to speak with an experienced Orange County, CA appeals attorney ASAP.

Orange County, CA Criminal Appeals Attorney

Jim Tanizaki is a former County DA turned Orange County, CA, criminal defense attorney. He will be able to examine the details of your trial to determine if mistakes were made. If there were mistakes that affected the outcome of the trial, resulting in your conviction, Jim has the experience and skill to guide you through the state’s appeals process.

Call us at (714) 655-7633 or contact us through our website to schedule a free initial consultation with a leading Orange County, CA appeals attorney.