DC Criminal Appellate Lawyer

COAIn DC, once convicted of a crime, you have ten days to file a Notice of Appeal.  That basically lets the Court system know that you plan to appeal your conviction.  Criminal appeals take time.  In some cases, it takes years for the Court of Appeals to make a decision.  Once you file a Notice of Appeal, the Court will prepare an appeal package and your attorney will have 30 days to request a transcript of the proceeding.  A transcript is just a verbatim account of what happened in court written down.  Your appellate attorney must file with the Court of Appeals a “Statement Regarding Transcripts,” which indicates the transcripts have been ordered.

The Court of Appeals will eventually file a briefing schedule, which gives your appellate attorney a certain amount of time to complete the brief.  The brief is just a written legal argument as to why a judge, your trial attorney, or the prosecutor made a mistake that was big enough it impacted the trial.  The government usually gets about 30 days to respond to the appellant brief and then, if appropriate, your appellate attorney can file a reply to the government’s brief.

In rare cases, the Court of Appeals will request that the parties participate in an oral argument.  At an oral argument, the justices on the Court of Appeals have an opportunity to question the attorneys about the issues raised in the brief.  After the case has been fully briefed and argued (if requested), the parties wait for the Court of Appeals to make a decision.  Usually, three of the nine Court of Appeals judges will make the decision.  If you are unhappy with the decision, it is possible to appeal to an en banc panel in some cases.  En banc means a full panel of the Court of Appeals, which includes all nine judges.

Its important to know that if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will probably serve your sentence, including any jail time and/or probation before the appellate process is complete.  However, if you are wrongfully convicted, a successful DC criminal appeal can have the conviction removed from your record.  If you are convicted of a crime in DC, contact Scrofano Law as soon as possible to discuss further what your appellate rights and options are.