Being charged with a crime is often one of the worst things that you can experience, Even worse, if you have been convicted in a court of law, you might feel like you’re at the end of the road and that you have no choice but to serve a jail term or pay a fine, depending on your sentence.
However, this is often untrue. Just as a criminal trial is a crucial part of the justice system, so are appeals. When you have been sentenced in court for a crime, you often have the option to appeal the judgment. In this post, we take a look at the appeal process in criminal cases in Victoria.
What is An Appeal?
In a legal case, an appeal happens when a party in the case is unhappy with the decision of the court and wishes for a higher court to decide on the matter again. In a criminal case, appeals regarding the sentence can be lodged by both the offender and the prosecution. However, only the offender can appeal a conviction. This means that if you have been acquitted, the prosecution cannot appeal against this decision.
Grounds for A Criminal Appeal
Some common reasons for why an offender might appeal a conviction include:
- Fresh evidence may have come to light that might exonerate the offender.
- The offender thinks that their case was wrongly decided.
- The offender thinks that their case was tainted by a procedural error.
Some common reasons for why a sentence might be appealed include:
- The prosecution might think that the sentence is too lenient.
- The offender might feel that the sentence is unfairly harsh.
Filing An Appeal and What to Expect
If you want to file an appeal, it’s important for you to adhere to the process prescribed by the court. Failure to do so might result in your appeal being rejected or denied. There is also a time limit within which you must appeal, otherwise your right to appeal is forfeited.
If the court grants leave (permission) for an offender to appeal, they can often make representations to a higher court relating to their case. In a conviction appeal, the court will either overturn the earlier decision or uphold it. In a sentence appeal, the court may or may not alter the sentence.
Seeking Professional Legal Advice
If you have been charged with a crime or have been handed a sentence from a criminal court in Victoria, it’s important for you to seek professional legal advice as soon as possible if you don’t already have it. A lawyer can help you make sense of your charge or your sentence and provide you with advice about the best next steps that you can take to achieve the best possible outcome for yourself.
Leanne Warren & Associates are leading criminal barristers in Melbourne and our team of experienced lawyers and legal executives provides legal advice and representation in Victoria. If you need help with your appeal or any other stage of your criminal case, we can help. Contact us today and find out how our team of criminal lawyers can help you turn the tides in your case.