Federal Appeals Lawyers

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Brian Kuester
Attorney Brian Kuester
Federal Appeals Team Lead
Former US Attorney
Former District Attorney
Ellen Comley
Attorney Ellen Comley
Defense Team Lead
Senior Counsel
Roger Bach
Roger Bach
Team Consultant
Former Special Agent (OIG)

As a general rule, the federal government does not pursue criminal charges unless it believes that it will obtain a conviction on those charges. Therefore, the vast majority of cases are resolved through plea deals or result in guilty verdicts. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take your case to trial or that a guilty verdict was the correct one. Let’s take a closer look at the federal appeals process and what to expect from The Criminal Defense Firm as it unfolds.

You’ll Need to Act Fast

You will need to notify the court of your intent to appeal your conviction no more than 14 days after the jury reaches its verdict. The notice to appeal is generally only a couple of pages and can be filed by your attorney. After the notice is filed, it may take several days or weeks to identify and substantiate the problems in your case that will be used as grounds to appeal your conviction.

It’s important to note that your attorney will need to take steps during the trial to preserve your right to appeal the case. If these steps are not taken, your appeal is far less likely to succeed that it would, otherwise.

You Can Appeal a Conviction or a Sentence

The federal criminal appeals process can be used to appeal either the jury’s decision or the sentence that you received as a result. If necessary, you can ask an appellate court judge to review both the fact that you were convicted as well as the structure of your punishment.

A conviction may be appealed on the grounds that the judge erred in making a ruling that improperly influenced the jury’s decision. It may also be appealed on the grounds that the prosecution withheld evidence or that the jury pool was tainted for some reason.

You may be able to appeal your sentence on the grounds that it falls outside of federal sentencing guidelines or that it constitutes a cruel or unusual punishment. It may also be possible to argue that the judge in your case ignored the terms of a plea deal because of a personal vendetta against you or an associate.

What an Appeal Actually Does

When you appeal your case, you aren’t given an opportunity to present new evidence to the court. Instead, the judge will review transcripts and other records that were generated during your trial.

These records will be used to determine if there were problems during jury selection or if evidence should likely have been suppressed prior to trial. Trial records may also be reviewed to determine if the evidence presented at trial was sufficient for a jury to conclude that the prosecution overcame your assumption of innocence.

If you are appealing your sentence, the judge overseeing the appeal will look to see if the sentence is justified. A number of variables may be reviewed when making such a determination. These variables may include existing sentencing guidelines, your criminal history or the presence of other aggravating factors.

In the event that your conviction or sentence is overturned, the case will likely be sent back to the trial court for further evaluation. However, if the judge upholds your conviction or sentence, you can either accept your fate or pursue a challenge to the Supreme Court.

How We Can Help

There are a number of steps that the folks at the Criminal Defense Law Firm may take to help with your federal appeal. First, we will make sure that the notice to appeal is filed within the designated period.

In fact, we may submit relevant paperwork within minutes or hours of hearing the jury’s verdict. We will also make sure to take the necessary steps to ensure that you retain the right to appeal.

Of course, this assumes that we were the ones who represented your interests at trial. If you hired us after you were convicted, we will attempt to file the appeal documents as quickly as possible after we are hired.

Furthermore, we will gather and review all records generated during the trial. This will help us identify and substantiate the issues that will be presented to the judge overseeing your appeal. It will also help us develop a legal strategy that may be used throughout the appeal process.

Finally, your attorney will submit briefs and make arguments to the appellate court on your behalf. Depending on how your appeal goes, we may also work with the prosecution to negotiate a plea deal or take other steps to help you obtain a favorable outcome in your case.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee any particular outcome in your case. However, we can say with confidence that it is difficult to obtain a positive outcome in the matter if you are not prepared. Fortunately, the folks at The Criminal Defense Firm are mostly former federal prosecutors or former federal agents. Therefore, you can feel good that your appeal will be handled by someone who understands how the process works.

The Types of Cases We Handle

The team at The Criminal Defense Firm will handle almost any type of federal criminal appeal case that a client may bring us. Whether you are charged with drug possession or trafficking, money laundering or tax evasion, we will likely be able to help meet your needs.

We may also be able to help with cases involving conspiracy, theft of government property and mail fraud. Finally, our team of former federal agents and trial lawyers will likely be able to assist with cases involving the theft of intellectual property, bribery or any type of fraud.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I handle the appeal on my own?

You do have the right to file appeal documents and craft a legal strategy on your own. However, it is generally not in your best interest to do so. This is because there are a number of rules that you’ll likely need to follow when doing so, and it may be difficult for someone without a legal background to understand them.
Furthermore, an attorney will likely be able to draw from previous cases when crafting a strategy that is tailored to your needs. The ability to navigate the legal system is a significant advantage that you are potentially giving up by choosing to pursue an appeal yourself.

Do I need to hire a new lawyer?

It’s not always necessary to drop your trial lawyer when it comes time to appeal your case. However, it is important to realize that your current attorney may not handle appeals or have a significant track record with federal cases. The attorneys at The Criminal Defense Firm will likely be able to help with the initial trial and the criminal appeals process.

Do I have a realistic chance of having a conviction overturned?

There is no way to determine if your case will be overturned until a ruling is made. This is because it’s impossible to predict what a judge will do until an action is taken. In some cases, a judge will agree that an error was made but that it wasn’t serious enough to impact the outcome of the trial. A judge may also agree that your sentence was harsh but that it isn’t so egregious as to violate your rights.

What happens if my conviction is overturned?

If your conviction is overturned, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will walk free. It’s possible that you will be granted a new trial free from the issues that plagued your previous trip to court. There is also a chance that you will be offered a favorable plea deal from the prosecutor. In the event that the case is dropped, it’s possible that state authorities will want to try you on similar charges to what federal authorities pursued.

How can I learn more about The Criminal Defense Firm?

If you would like to learn more about how we may be able to help, feel free to schedule a free consultation. The consultation only takes a few minutes of your time, and we will not require you to hire us simply because you gave us a call or sent an email request for more information.
However, we will likely send a contract proposal that you are free to sign if you would like to work with us. In the event that you do choose to work with one of our attorneys, a second meeting will be scheduled for as soon as possible. It’s important to note that anything that you say during the consultation is likely protected by attorney-client confidentiality rules.

Contact The Criminal Defense Firm Today

If you are in need of a federal criminal defense attorney, don’t hesitate to contact The Criminal Defense Firm today. You can also call our national intake hotline at 866-603-4540.

Dallas 214-817-2053
Houston 713-454-7814
Detroit 313-634-0925
Baton Rouge 225-269-8749
New York 332-239-7345
Winter Park 407-890-0460
Miami 786-751-3247
Portland 207-222-7742
Nationwide 866-603-4540