A defendant convicted and sentenced for DUI may appeal to a higher (appellate) court for review of the sentence or conviction if they believe justice has not been done and they have been wrongfully convicted or sentenced too harshly.
DUI defendants wishing to appeal to higher court have only a limited time period after the sentencing courts final judgement to file a notice of appeal. This is usally 7 to 10 days, after which they will lose their right to appeal. Hiring an experienced DUI appeal lawyer is crucial as the law is very complex.
Appellate court judges will not consider any new evidence and their rulings are based only on records of the original trial. Appellate courts decide on issues of law only, their purpose is to decide if a DUI conviction should be overturned or whether a DUI sentence should be modified.
Appellate courts may take days, weeks or even months to decide the outcome of an appellate case.
Appealing against the appellate courts decision
Convicted defendants can take numerous steps in the form of appeals, motions and writs in order to challenge guilty verdicts, sentences and violations of constitutional rights. There are many steps that can be taken and it is a process that can take many years.
Although very rare in straightforward DUI cases the following is a list of writs and appeal processes a defendant may take:
Petition for Rehearsing to State Appeals Court: These requests are made in the hope that appeals court judges may change their own decisions.
State Supreme Court Appeal: These requests are made to the highest courts in the state in the hope that the decisions of mid level appeals courts are reviewed and overturned.
U.S Supreme Court Appeal: These requests are made to the highest court in the nation in the hope that they will review cases of the state supreme courts.
State Court Habeas Corpus Petition: These requests are made in the hope that the state appeals courts will order the release of a defendant from jail or prison upon showing that they are being held in violation of some state law or constitutional right.
Federal Habeas Corpus Petition to District Court: These requests are made in the hope that a federal trial court will order the release of a defendant from jail or prison upon showing they are being held in violation of the U.S Constitution.
Appeal of Federal Habeas Corpus Petition to Circuit Court: These requests are made to the midlevel federal court in order for them to review any decisions made by the federal trial courts.
Appeal of Federal Habeas Corpus Petition to U.S Supreme Court: These requests are made to the highest court in the land in order for them to review any decisions made by mid level federal courts.