Drunk Driving Appeals
If you have been convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you might consider pursuing an appeal. It is your right, especially if you believe that you have been wrongly convicted. An appeal does not always end successfully, however, and it is tough to win it. However, with sufficient knowledge, preparation, immediate action, and a skilled trial attorney to handle your case, you stand a good chance of tipping the scale to your favor this time.
Is Drunk Driving Appeal Worth It?
Yes, it is, if you are looking to repeal the conviction and remove it from your record. Take note that it does not mean you could avoid the sentence due to the amount of time it takes to process the appeal.
Often, the defendant (or in this case, the appellant) might agree to undergo probation or rehabilitative program to avoid jail time. An appeal usually moves a lot slower than trials. Likewise, it is also a tedious and time-consuming process. It could take about a year to resolve.
Since not all convictions are equal, it is essential to evaluate first and foremost if an appeal is right for you. For this, having a proficient DUI appeals attorney working with you on your case is highly advantageous. The attorney will determine if your case holds the necessary legal issues and if there is a good chance of succeeding it.
The Basis for an Appeal
In an appeal, you are asking the higher court to review certain details of your case for any possible legal errors. These errors could either be substantive or procedural. It could be that the trial court committed an error in utilizing the law to your case. Here are the top 4 police mistakes in a a drunk driving investigation that could be the basis for an appeal.
It could also be misconduct on the part of the police, the jurors, and prosecutors that hindered a fair trial. You may have been misrepresented by your attorney, and the judge made an error in admitting evidence against you. All of these things can happen. Your DUI attorney can give you a comprehensive explanation regarding this and how it correlates to your case.
The Drunk Driving Appeal Process
When filing for an appeal, you have to keep in mind that time is of the essence. You must file a notice of appeal within 30 days following your DUI conviction.
- In this process, the appellate court will review your DUI trial record. The record includes court transcripts, testimonies made by the witnesses, and the evidence presented in the court during the trial.
During an appeal, no new evidence will be accepted and recognized. Remember that an appeal is not a new trial, but merely a review for any possible errors that took place in the trial and to see if your rights during a DUI stop were violated.
- Along with the appellate record are the “briefs” filed by both parties. The “opening brief” filed by the appellant demonstrates why the conviction was incorrect and unjust.
Afterward, the prosecution will file a “response brief.” The response brief is primarily to dispute the appellant’s argument and to justify the conviction as lawful and correct.
In turn, the appellant gets the last word with the “reply brief.” It is the appellant’s rebuttal to the response brief. This briefing process could last anywhere from three to six months.
- After the briefings have been filed, the court will schedule an oral argument. Both parties will get the opportunity to express and exchange arguments with the judges directly. Both sides get a 15-minute time allocation for this.
- Once completed, the case is submitted, and the decision called “opinion” will be issued by the appellate court. The availability of the court’s opinion may vary; it could be soon after the oral argument. In some cases, it could take months.
What You Can Gain From an Appeal
Since the whole process could take about a year to complete, you may have already done your sentence. But still, there are things you could gain from winning an appeal.
If you win it, your conviction will be overturned and removed from your record. That is already a moral victory for you. Besides, a clean record is ideal for educational or employment opportunities. The peace of mind and the sense of dignity you get from knowing that you are cleared from this conviction record are priceless.
Get the Help from an Attorney to Expertly Represent Your Appeal
If you believe that you are a victim of wrongful conviction of drunk driving, you have all the right to file an appeal. Fortunately, having an experienced and reliable attorney to represent you will help you go through the difficult and complicated process with ease and confidence.