Contrary to popular belief, a trial that ends in a conviction is not the end of the road. From there, your attorney can file a motion for new trial within 30 days of the entry of judgment. Even if this motion is initially denied, the order denying the motion may be appealed. Another method is to skip the motion entirely and file your appeal directly. A qualified attorney will be able to help you decide which option is right for your case.
As a Forsyth County DUI Attorney, I know that while the trial court process is complicated, the appellate process can seem even more daunting. In today's post, I'm going to talk about what you can expect from the DUI appeals process in Georgia.
Georgia DUI Appellate Process
Appeals from the Superior and State Courts go to the will usually first go to the Georgia Court of Appeals. Some cases, however, they will go directly to the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Supreme Court hears cases that have been granted a writ of certiorari, which is an order reserved for cases that involve great concern, and the resolution is of importance to the public. Absent these circumstances, appeals end up in the Georgia Court of Appeals. Adverse decisions from the Georgia Court of Appeals, however, may be appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.
One significant difference between the trial court process and the appellate court process is that the defendant no longer has the presumption of innocence. The appellate court will also view all the evidence from the perspective that the verdict is correct. The appellate court is not a fact-finder – it will not hear new evidence or see witnesses, but rather gives much deference to the trial court's findings.
So, what is the basis of a successful appeal of a DUI Conviction? Motions for new trial and appeals are usually granted if:
- The verdict is contrary to evidence and without evidence to support it;
- The verdict is decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence
- The verdict is contrary to law and the principles of justice and equity.
- The defendant did not receive a fair trial under the US Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Georgia, or the laws of the State of Georgia.
If you pleaded guilty to your DUI charge, however, your ability to appeal the conviction will be more limited. But if your attorney did not lay out all the consequences of a guilty plea or if you did not have an attorney when you entered your plea, there may be ground to challenge your conviction.
If you have been convicted of DUI in Forsyth County, you the penalties you are facing are great. But a conviction does not necessarily signify the end of your case. At the Law Office of Richard S. Lawson, our team of Forsyth County DUI lawyers is prepared to help you get your conviction reversed. Call our office to speak with an experienced appellate lawyer today.