Someone who has been convicted of a crime in Virginia has the right to appeal their conviction. However, there may be limits to their rights of appeal. Defendants can appeal a conviction once in each court. This means that if their first appeal is not successful, they may take their case to the next highest court to file a subsequent appeal.
When it comes to the criminal justice system in Virginia, there are three different levels of courts. The criminal trial will be held in Circuit Court. The defendant may file an appeal of the verdict to the Court of Appeals. If they are unsuccessful there, they can then file an appeal with the Virginia Supreme Court. Finally, defendants can file an appeal with the United States Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court will take very few cases, so there is little chance that a case will be heard there.
A legal appeal is a technical process in which all of the procedural requirements must be followed. There are strict time limitations for filing the appeal. There may also be rules for the form that briefs to the court must take. In an appeal, the trial court’s judgment will be given some weight. Defendants must find a way to persuade the appeals court that the trial court made an error in the proceeding that resulted in the conviction.
With help from a criminal defense attorney, a defendant could appeal a conviction. Since there must be a reason for the appeal, the attorney might review the record of the trial court to find instances in which the judge made mistakes. Then, the lawyer could file a brief with the appellate court arguing why the conviction should be overturned and a new trial granted.