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Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > Steps Of The Appeal Process In Indiana

Steps Of The Appeal Process In Indiana


The Constitution of Indiana gives you the right to appeal if you were convicted and sentenced at trial. The appeals stage in a criminal case is when you try to have the conviction, or sentence, overturned. In an appeal, you seek to prove that legal errors occurred that affected the outcome of your case. In an appeal, you do not introduce new evidence, and the appellate court does not try the facts of the case again. Instead, the court reviews legal issues. In this article, we look at the steps of the appeal process in Indiana.

Steps of the Appeal Process

The appeals process may differ greatly from state to state. The following are the general steps of the appeals process in Indiana;

Step #1: Filing a Notice of Appeal

If a legal error occurred during your criminal trial or sentencing you may be justified to seek a reversal of the conviction or a reduction of the sentence. The first thing you need to do is to file a “Notice of Appeal” and send it to the trial court that convicted and sentenced you. A Notice of Appeal informs the trial court that you are challenging their ruling in the next highest court, the appellate court.

Step #2: Filing the Appeal With the Appellate Court

After you file a Notice of Appeal with the trial court, the next step is to actually file the appeal with the appellate court. During this second stage, you file a “Brief of Appellant.” In this brief, you need to clearly state the facts of your case, the law that applies, and argue why the trial court made an error.

After you file a brief, the appellee (the state) responds by filing a “Brief of Appellee.”

Step #3: Oral Arguments

Oral Arguments are set at the discretion of the Appeals Court.  If there are oral arguments, parties usually only given 20 to 30 minutes to argue their case, with the judges often interrupting the attorneys with questions. During this stage, no new evidence can be presented.

Step #4: Opinion

After briefs have been filed and oral arguments presented (if held), the appellate court will deliberate and issue its ruling.  The appellate court will decide whether to reverse or affirm the trial court’s decision. If the trial court’s decision is affirmed, it means the appellate court supports the conviction and sentencing as determined by the trial court. On the other hand, if the decision is reversed, it means the appellate court does not agree with the trial court’s decision. The effect of this disagreement can result in anything from resentencing to a reversal of the conviction.

The appeals process can be complicated and lengthy. For this reason, choosing an attorney with experience with appellate law is vital for your appeal. Hiring a skilled appellate attorney should be your first step in your appeals process.

Contact Us for Legal Help

If you need help with a criminal case or appealing a criminal conviction and sentencing, contact our qualified and dedicated Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer at Rigney Law LLC.



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