Did you receive and unfair conviction that you believe was based on an error? If so, then you should consider filing an appeal. This means that you ask a higher court—either the South Carolina Court of Appeals or the South Carolina Supreme Court—to review the decision and determine whether or not an error actually occurred. If it is decided that an error did occur, the higher court may overturn the previous court decision or order that a new trial be held.
The first step of the appeals process is to determine which court you can file your appeal with. For most convictions that were obtained in a state court, the convicted person will have to file the appeal with the Court of Appeals. There will, however, be some of these cases in which the convicted person can file an appeal directly with the Supreme Court. The next step is to file a Notice of Appeal. This is the convicted individual's notice that he or she intends to challenge the lower court's ruling.
The notice of appeal must be served within 10 days of the convicted person's sentence being issued. If the court ruling did not result in a conviction but another type of court judgment (such as in the revocation of probation), the notice must be filed within 10 days of the judgment's notice of entry. Once the notice of appeal has been served, the appellant then has 10 days to file that notice with both the lower court and the appellate court.
According to South Carolina Appellate Court Rule 203, the Notice of Appeal should include:
- The name of the court, county and judge
- The lower court case's docket number
- The date of the judgment, order or sentence that is being appealed (and possibly the date that the appellant received notice of that judgment or order)
- The name of the appellant
- The contact information (names, addresses and phone numbers) of the lawyers who are on record for the case and whom they represent
When the Notice of Appeal is filed, it must be accompanied by proof of service (or proof that the respondent has properly been served with the notice), a copy of the judgment/order being appealed and a written explanation of why the appellant is challenging the previous court ruling. Once all the appropriate documents are submitted, the appellate court will review all of the material from the previous case (including evidence and court transcripts), as well as written arguments by the parties involved.
It will then use this written information to decide whether any errors occurred in the previous ruling. Because the appeal is not a new trial, the parties involved do not get a chance to present evidence or bring witnesses into the courtroom, though they can sometimes provide oral arguments concerning why the case should or should not be appealed. If you need to appeal a court decision in your criminal case, make sure you get the help of a qualified attorney.
Our Lexington criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC can walk you through each step. Contact us today!