Should I Appeal
My Criminal Case?

Filing an appeal could be your last chance to clear your name and avoid a conviction. That is why you might want to consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you present your case to the appellate court in the most convincing manner possible to fight for a favorable resolution.

Appealing a criminal case also means following strict deadlines and procedural requirements. As a criminal defense attorney with decades of experience, I understand that better than anyone. My firm, the Law Offices of Fisher Wise, represents clients in criminal and appeal cases in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as East Ridge, Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy, Marion County, Rhea County, and Sequatchie County.

Valid Reasons to Appeal in Tennessee

If the trial in your criminal case does not produce a favorable outcome, you may still be able to exercise your right to an appeal to overturn the criminal conviction. However, the mere fact that you can exercise your right to an appeal does not necessarily mean that you will prevail. In fact, you cannot appeal your criminal case unless you have valid reasons to ask the appellate court to review the judge’s decision in a trial court.

The mere dissatisfaction or disagreement with the trial court’s verdict does not give you grounds to appeal your criminal case in Tennessee. Under Tennessee law, the defendant must point to specific errors during their trial to be entitled to an appeal.

Thus, you might have a valid reason to file an appeal after an unfavorable verdict if any of the following mistakes occurred:

  • The judge mistakenly admitted evidence that should have been excluded from the trial
  • Evidence that should have been admitted at trial was mistakenly excluded
  • The judge made a mistake during the trial
  • The judge provided incorrect instructions to the jury
  • There was a lack of sufficient evidence to support the conviction
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel

Your appeal case is more likely to be successful if you have a valid ground to appeal your conviction. Consider consulting with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer to review your particular situation and determine whether you have a valid reason for appeal. 

Criminal Appeals Process

Contrary to popular belief, an appeal is not a new trial. In fact, the criminal appeals process in Tennessee is different from the trial process. In appellate courts, the defendant faces a panel of three judges instead of a judge and a jury. During the appeals process, there are no juries, expert testimonies, or witnesses.

The panel of three judges reviews the trial transcripts and written arguments. The panel may also request oral arguments from the parties to make a decision. According to the official website of the Tennessee State Government, a defendant can appeal a conviction or sentence in Tennessee in two primary ways. These are a direct appeal and a post-conviction petition.

  1. A direct appeal. The defendant can challenge the validity of his/her conviction or sentence by submitting a brief to the Court of Criminal Appeals and pointing to the errors that allegedly occurred during the trial or sentencing hearing.
  2. A post-conviction petition. If the defendant did not file a direct appeal, they have one year from the date of their conviction becoming final to file a post-conviction petition in the trial court. However, if the defendant did pursue a direct appeal, they still have a right to bring a petition for post-conviction relief within a year of losing the direct appeal. A post-conviction petition is limited to allegations of constitutional errors that occurred during the trial or sentencing hearing.

If the defendant’s post-conviction petition is not granted, they have a right to file an appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Rely on My Expertise at the Law Offices of Fisher Wise

The appeal process can be both lengthy and complicated. If you have a right to appeal your criminal case, it may be your last chance to overturn a criminal conviction and clear your name. That is why you might want to consider hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney to help you fight for a favorable outcome in your appeal case. 

After years of experience working as a criminal defense lawyer in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I have successfully defended clients in criminal and appeal cases. I represent people who were convicted of a crime but want to appeal in Chattanooga and all surrounding counties, including Bradley, Bledsoe, Hamilton, Marion, Meigs, Rhea, and Sequatchie counties.


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