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Long Beach Criminal Appeals Lawyer

After a criminal conviction, there are several legal routes that a criminal defense attorney can counsel you through. You may be able to file an appeal under certain circumstances, file for a Writ of Habeas Corpus, or file another motion to lessen or alter the sentence you received. An experienced appellate attorney can help you navigate this process.

At Power Trial Lawyers, our attorneys have experience with several appeal processes. An appeal may be worth pursuing if:

  • You were wrongly convicted.
  • The wrong laws were applied to your case.
  • You were given bad legal advice.
  • Your trial didn’t follow legal procedure.

There are additional motions that may apply to your situation. Disliking the outcome of a criminal conviction is not reason enough to appeal a case. The outcome of the case had to be affected by mistakes in court.

A conviction is not always the end of a criminal case. At Power Trial Lawyers, we have spent years fighting for the rights of those wrongly convicted. We fight in appeals to have convictions and sentences eliminated. If this isn’t possible, our attorneys aim to lessen the sentencing and the effect a conviction has on an individual’s future.

If you believe that your conviction was wrong, you should do everything you can to fight for your rights. The attorneys with Power Trial Lawyers, can help.

Direct Criminal Appeals

In a direct appeal, a criminal conviction is taken to a higher court for review. A direct appeal is more successful when the reason for the appeal is a legal error. Appeals often address issues such as:

  • The jury was improperly instructed.
  • Evidence that harmed your case was admitted that shouldn’t have been.
  • Evidence that helped your case was withheld that shouldn’t have been.
  • The sentence for the conviction didn’t match the crime.
  • The wrong laws were applied to the case.

Appeals based on the credibility of witnesses or the value of evidence are often unsuccessful, as the appellate court will reflect the decision of the lower court in most cases. There must be a legal error that altered the outcome of the criminal case.

Direct appeals are not the right avenue if there is new evidence in your case or if your defense attorney didn’t adequately represent you. Direct appeals are instead a review of the trial records.

Filing a Direct Appeal

After conviction, there is a very short window to file a Notice of Appeal. For misdemeanor convictions, you have 30 days to file from the date you were sentenced. Felony convictions have a 60-day timeframe. If you don’t file during this time, you lose your ability to file a direct appeal review.

After the notice is filed, transcripts for the trial must be gathered, which include the documents and evidence from the case. Then, both you and the prosecution have the opportunity to argue your case. Your criminal appeals attorney can craft and file the opening brief, then argue why your conviction suffered from legal error. After the opening briefs, there may be a reply brief and oral arguments.

An appellate review is very different from a criminal trial, and the panel is made primarily of attorneys and judges. It’s for this reason that it’s important to work with an attorney who focuses on the appellate process. The quality of your appeals attorney can have a significant impact on the outcome of your appeal case.

How Often Are Appeals Successful in California?

The overall success rate of appeals in the state is low, but if your case has a legal error, it is much more likely that your case will be appealed. At Power Trial Lawyers, we have a high success rate for appeals and other legal work after a conviction. Our attorneys can review every part of your initial trial to find where legal mistakes were made that may have altered your conviction.

There are other legal options for post-conviction. Your appeals attorney can determine if one of these routes is better for your case.

The First Step Act

The First Step Act is a federal law that provides ways to reduce sentencing for those convicted of nonviolent crimes. The three main aspects are:

  1. Correctional Reform: This addresses recidivism in inmates by creating a risk and needs assessment and providing programs for inmates that reduce recidivism risk. In these programs, inmates can earn credits to lessen their sentence and allow them to enter alternate custody before their release.
  2. Sentencing Reform: This changes certain penalties for federal offenders, often reducing the mandatory minimum sentencing for convictions or reducing the conviction requirements for mandatory minimum sentencing for certain offenses.
  3. The Second Chance Act: This reauthorizes the act to provide treatment programs, mentoring programs, and career training demonstrations, among other programs.

Under this act, there are ways that those convicted of certain crimes can significantly reduce their sentences.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

The writ of habeas corpus can be used by appeals attorneys when imprisonment may not be lawful. If you were unlawfully arrested and detained, an attorney can challenge:

  • The lawfulness and basis of imprisonment
  • The conditions of your imprisonment
  • Other restraints on personal liability
  • The duration of time behind bars

If evidence was obtained by law enforcement through illegal means, your appeals attorney can petition that you should not have been imprisoned based on that evidence. If the evidence against your case should have been suppressed, or evidence in favor of your case was excluded, there may be a reason to file a petition that your imprisonment is not legal.

A writ of habeas corpus petition is requesting that:

  • Illegal conditions should be prevented or corrected.
  • Incarceration length should be reduced.
  • Your rights must be respected.
  • You should be released from custody.

When a petition regarding the writ of habeas corpus is filed, law enforcement must prove that imprisonment and its conditions are legal and valid. Filing this petition allows you to provide additional evidence to the court. A writ of habeas corpus does not appeal a conviction but aims to lower a sentence. While appeals must be requested in 30 to 60 days, a petition for the writ of habeas corpus must be requested “in a timely manner” in California, or within a year for federal petitions.


Prior to SB1437, those charged with a felony could also be charged with murder if someone died because of the felony. Even if the offender was not directly responsible for a person’s death, they could still be charged with murder. This is no longer the case. Under SB1437, to be charged with felony murder, the offender must:

  • Be the killer.
  • Act with intent to kill.
  • Act with reckless carelessness to life.
  • Assist the killer.
  • Encourage the killer to commit the crime.
  • Know or should have reasonably known that the victim was a police officer.

For those convicted of felony murder prior to SB1437, a sentence reduction may be available if they would no longer be convicted. Re-sentencing of these individuals is not automatic, and they must file a petition to reduce their sentence.

Filing and succeeding in a resentencing petition is not easy. There are three stages that your petition must succeed in:

  1. The Prima Facie Stage: Prove that your case meets the criteria of SB1437 potential resentencing.
  2. The Order to Show Cause Stage: Provide evidence that shows that you were not responsible for the death under SB1437.
  3. The Resentencing Stage: Show that your sentence should be reduced and resentenced as a lesser crime.

The attorneys at Power Trial Lawyers, have significant experience filing and winning applications for SB1437 re-sentencing and sentence reductions.

Commutation of Sentence

Under AB 2942, there are other potential ways to reduce an offender’s sentence. When you file a petition to commute your sentence, the court takes into account:

  • Your behavior and disciplinary record
  • Whether you are able to reintegrate and become a productive member of society
  • Evidence that you are unlikely to be violent
  • Whether you show remorse for your actions

This request to reduce or commute a sentence is based on your character and if continued incarceration is a miscarriage of justice. An attorney has experience crafting these petitions and filing them with the ideal agencies.

Why Do You Need a Long Beach Criminal Appeals Attorney?

The process of appeals, resentencing, or sentence reduction is a very complex aspect of law. Attempting to represent yourself during this process is a major risk when so much of your future is at stake. This is a stressful situation, and any mistakes can cost you your future.

An appeals attorney has significant experience and success with appealing or requesting reduced sentencing. They are also familiar with deadlines and essential procedures, and they can gather evidence, file your appeal, and argue your case. Your attorney understands how overwhelming your situation is and can handle each step of the appeal skillfully.

Contact Power Trial Lawyers, for Your Appeal

At Power Trial Lawyers, we believe in fighting for your rights when the criminal justice system fails you. We dedicate the time, resources, and attention required to ensure exceptional and individual care to your appeals or resentencing case. Our attorneys understand the impact this case can have on your future and the rest of your life. Contact our team today to see how we can defend your interests and fight for your freedom.

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