Individuals who are arrested for DUI and subsequently convicted often feel that the punishment they face doesn’t really “fit” the crime. What happens if you and your attorney feel that the sentencing handed out was excessive, or even reached due to legal error? Some individuals believe that once the sentence is given, there is no going back, nothing can be changed. However, you can consult with a Michigan criminal sentence appeals attorney who can help determine if you may be able to appeal the sentence. Whether at the federal or state level, those convicted of driving under the influence typically have the option to appeal. This simply means that a higher court will examine the facts of your case and come to a conclusion regarding whether certain legal factors could have led to either a conviction for DUI, or harsh sentencing.
When is the best time to appeal a DUI conviction?
Immediately. The sooner you appeal your DUI conviction or sentence, the sooner the process will move forward. In the majority of cases it takes months for an individual’s appeal to go in front of the court and be decided.
What happens during the appeal process?
First, it is important that you realize that the appellate court will examine the evidence and details of the lower court’s case against you, and that any “new” evidence will not be permitted. The appeals process is simply a re-examination of what occurred in the original case, reviewed by a higher court and different eyes. It is every appellant’s hope that the higher court in an appeals process will have a different perspective or outlook.
What part do you play in the appeals process?
As the appellate, you should prepare to argue that the decision made in your case was affected by mistakes made during the legal process, and that the jury’s decision was swayed by these mistakes. When you file an appeal, you are essentially claiming that your case should be dismissed, or that the sentence is too harsh for the offense for which you were convicted, and that you desire a retrial or to be re-sentenced. Either way, you must state these facts in your appeal.
In addition, you will be required to provide a written brief to the court. Be aware that while your brief challenges the harshness of your sentence or your conviction, the prosecution will do the same – file a brief upholding the sentence or conviction. In some situations, you may be required to participate in oral arguments before the appellate court in order for a decision to be reached.
All of this may sound intimidating, and it is. If you believe you were wrongly convicted for DUI or that your sentence was harsher than you deserve, consult with a seasoned Michigan criminal appeals lawyer who can help you navigate the process and work to ensure you have the best chance possible.