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FAQ About the Criminal Appeals Process

Gavel, Scale of Justice and Book
If a loved one was recently convicted of a crime, including domestic violence, theft, driving under the influence, drug possession, or assault, your loved one might have the right to file an appeal. The appeals process will vary by state, and the defendant needs to have an attorney to help the defendant and their family understand what to expect.
Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions you might have about the criminal appeals process.
How Does the Appeals Process Differ From the Original Trial?
The appeals process is different from the original trial in several ways. For example, instead of being referred to as the defendant, the person accused of a crime is now called the appellant. Here are some additional ways that an appeal is different from a state or federal trial:
  • The appeal is not a trial. The appeal isn't a new trial. Instead, an appellate judge will review the original verdict to determine if there are any errors or inconsistencies in the original trial.
  • The appellant must file for an appeal. Unlike a state or federal trial, the appellant must file an appeal in criminal matters. If it is a civil trial, either party can file for an appeal of the decision.
  • The case is tried in a different type of courtroom. An appellate judge will make the final decision, and these cases have no jury.
  • No new evidence is presented. Your attorney cannot present any evidence during an appeal. The judge's only job is to determine if the original decision is valid.
The appeals process differs from state to state, including Oregon. Your attorney can help you understand how the federal and state appeals processes are different.
Where Do You Begin?
Before filing an appeal in any state, the accused should consult their attorney. The appeals process is lengthy and potentially expensive. In Oregon, the appellant and their attorney have 30 days after the original decision to file an appeal. If the notice isn't filed in that time frame, the court will not grant an extension.
The appellant must also file an additional form to have a court report create a transcript of the original proceedings. This is done at the appellant's expense.
The case is then presented to the Oregon Court of Appeals. The court is comprised of a panel of judges who review the original transcripts, in addition to oral and written arguments by both the appellant's attorney and the prosecution's attorney. Once again, no new evidence is presented. Instead, the attorneys are charged with proving that the original case was either flawed or valid.
The Oregon Court of Appeal's judges will review the case and provide a decision. The time it takes before this decision is provided is dependent upon the complexity of the case, the amount of oral and written arguments, and the number of judges available to preside over the case.
Once the decision is made, it is finalized by a lead judge, who then provides the information to both attorneys.
What If the Appeal Is Denied?
If the appeal is denied, the appellant has two options: file a petition to have the decision reconsidered by the Oregon Court of Appeals, or file a petition to have the case reviewed by the Oregon Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the Oregon Supreme Court denies most of the petitions for review it receives. If this occurs, the original decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals will remain valid.
Knowing what occurs during the appeals process in Oregon can help a defendant prepare for the experience. If you have further questions, contact Mark J. Geiger, Attorney at Law for help.