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State Appeals and Writs

BACL has a reputation for never giving up on our clients or substantial issues in our cases. That reputation has resulted in many people hiring us to come into their case after they have already lost at a critical hearing or even suffered a conviction at trial. As a result, BACL has extensive experience litigating state appeals and writs.

An appeal is a challenge to a conviction. Misdemeanor cases are appealed to the Appellate Division of the superior court where the case was heard, and the notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the conviction. Felony cases are appealed to the California Court of Appeals, and the notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days of the order of conviction. Appeals involve a great deal of time and preparation, because your appellate attorney must read all transcripts and motions from your case, before and during the trial. It is critical that your appellate attorney be well versed with what happened in your case, from your first court appearance right up until your guilty verdict. That is the only way that your appellate attorney will be able to identify all the arguments in your favor and draft a thorough, accurate, and persuasive brief. Many records contain thousands of pages of transcripts and documents.

An appellate brief is the document that contains the facts, arguments, and legal authorities supporting overturning the conviction. After reviewing the complete record of the case, your attorney will draft and file your appellate brief. Appellate briefs, though varying in length, are often considerably longer than typical criminal motions, sometimes exceeding 100 pages. If you believe that your trial attorney did not perform to your expectations, you should strongly consider hiring a new attorney for your appeal, as it is critical that your brief be well-researched and well-written, so that you have a genuine chance at overturning your wrongful conviction.

There are several different kinds of state writs, but the most common are the writ of habeas corpus and the writ of mandamus. Writs, like appeals, depend upon a thorough analysis of the case record.

The writ of habeas corpus may be filed at any time during a case or after a denial of a direct appeal. The writ of habeas corpus is appropriate when you are being held in custody without Due Process, in violation of your constitutional rights. As in an appeal, there may be many bases for filing a writ of habeas corpus. It is critical that all bases be raised within your writ. A writ should be filed as soon as possible, as any undue delay in filing your writ of habeas corpus may result in the court declining to consider it.

The writ of mandamus is generally used to challenge decisions made before conviction, relating to motions and issues that arise throughout a case, such as a motion to suppress evidence. The writ of mandamus is appropriate when the court made an incorrect decision, which needs to be corrected in order to avoid prejudice to the defendant. There are strict deadlines for filing writs of mandamus. The deadlines vary depending on the subject matter of the writ. If you believe that a writ of mandamus is appropriate in your case, you should contact an attorney immediately.

The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be taken, as legal advice. The information may or may not apply to your case or situation. Please do not rely on any information on this website as legal advice from an attorney because it is not legal advice. Please contact us if you have any questions, and we will be happy to have one of our lawyers talk to you. Any preliminary consultation between you and a lawyer from our firm is covered by the attorney-client privilege.

If you or someone you care about are facing criminal charges and need a lawyer in the Bay Area, our San Francisco based attorneys are available to take your call 24/7 at 415-398-3900, or fill out the contact form to the right to receive a fast response.

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