If you have been convicted of a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia, there are steps you can take even after your conviction. An appeal can save you from an improper conviction, law enforcement misconduct, or other issues that arose during your trial.
Knowing how to pursue an appeal is very important to your life moving forward. The appeal process can be complicated and daunting for someone without years of experience in the criminal defense field. If you have been convicted of DUI in Georgia, an experienced Forsyth County DUI attorney can file your appeal and fight to overturn your conviction.
Why File an Appeal to a DUI Conviction in Georgia?
You file an appeal to a DUI conviction to challenge the proceedings in a lower court, not to retry your entire case again. The appellate court examines your trial court proceedings for legal errors, such as:
- Improper jury bias,
- Procedural errors,
- Errors with the sentencing process,
- Insufficient evidence for the crimes charged,
- Improperly admitted evidence which should have been suppressed,
- Ineffective assistance by other legal counsel.
The appellate judge will scrutinize the actions of the prosecutor, law enforcement, and the evidence presented at trial. There are three possible outcomes of your appeal:
- Your case is dismissed,
- Your case must be retried,
- You are sent back to the trial court for corrected sentencing.
An attorney who is well-versed in the types of errors which typically occur and who knows how to present your case to the appellate court can be instrumental in challenging your guilty verdict. Just because you were convicted of DUI does not necessarily mean the fight is over.
How Long Do I Have to File My Appeal?
In Georgia, you have thirty (30) days from the date your judgment entry is filed by the trial court to file your appeal. If you fail to file your appeal by this date, you will not be able to appeal your case. This means that if your case was not tried properly, you will be unable to change it even if you would otherwise be successful on appeal.
With the help of an experienced DUI appeal attorney, you can file your appeal and protect yourself from improper convictions.
Once your appeal is filed, you and your DUI appeal attorney will file the necessary evidence, trial court filings, and a brief stating the arguments of your appeal. The prosecutor will also file evidence and will file an appellate brief of its own.
The brief seeks to present to the appellate court what errors took place during trial. Not every error will result in reversal of your conviction. "Harmless errors" are those that did not affect the outcome of your case in a substantive way. However, substantive errors may be the basis for a new trial or even dismissal of your charges altogether.
Contact a Forsyth County DUI Attorney
Time is ticking away to file your appeal after your DUI conviction. Don't assume that you have no options after your conviction. Filing an appeal may make a major difference in your life, affecting your record, your finances, and your freedom.