A conviction for a criminal offense can impact various aspects of your life. Depending on the crime in question, a conviction can lead to incarceration, fines and community service. Worse still, a conviction for certain crimes can lead to your deportation from the U.S if you are a non-citizen.
However, a criminal conviction is never the end of the road. You have the right of an appeal if you believe a conviction was wrong or a sentencing was harsh. Subject to the circumstances of your case, a successful appeal can lead to the reversal of your conviction, alteration of the verdict or a new trial.
But on what grounds can you appeal a conviction? Here are two common grounds for appealing a criminal conviction:
Ineffective legal representation
The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution accords everyone the right to proper legal representation during a criminal trial. If you did not receive competent legal counsel during your trial, leading to a conviction, then you may be entitled to an appeal.
You could also have new counsel during your appeal. To make an effective case for ineffective representation, your new legal counsel will have to demonstrate that your original counsel’s performance was inadequate and this led to your case’s unfavorable outcome.
The emergence of new evidence
Criminal cases are won or lost based on the evidence provided by either party. If new evidence emerges after your conviction, or if it’s established that essential evidence was overlooked by the prosecution or the court, then you can appeal your conviction on this account. For instance, an appeal can be warranted if you have been convicted of theft, but it is later established that the DNA samples obtained at the scene of the crime do not match your profile.
A criminal conviction can have far-reaching implications for your life. You may need to find out how you can explore your appeal options if you are convicted of a crime.