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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Federal Crimes / Appealing a Federal Crime Conviction: How Does It Work?

Appealing a Federal Crime Conviction: How Does It Work?


A federal crime conviction is a serious matter, and many convicts attempt to appeal. When facing decades behind bars, an appeal may seem well worth the effort – even if the chances of success are relatively slim. The first step is to understand how this process works. Although your federal crimes lawyer in Fort Myers can help you navigate your appeal, you can proceed with more confidence if you have a basic understanding of how it all works.

The United States Courts of Appeals 

When you appeal your criminal conviction, the decision may be reviewed by the United States Courts of Appeals first and foremost. Keep in mind that your right to an appeal is not guaranteed under the Constitution, and the United States Courts of Appeals might simply decline to hear your case. This highlights the need for effective legal representation, as a qualified federal crimes lawyer can prepare your appeal in the most efficient manner possible.

There are 13 federal circuit Courts of Appeals. If you were convicted of a federal crime in Fort Lauderdale, your trial probably occurred in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. In turn, this district court falls under the purview of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. You can file a federal appeal with this Court of Appeals if you believe that there was an error in your trial or sentencing.

The Supreme Court 

If you receive an unfavorable decision from the Court of Appeals, you may still have the opportunity to take your appeal to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court only hears a certain number of cases each year, and there is no guarantee that they will take an interest in your specific situation. The chances of having your case heard by the Supreme Court may increase if there are disagreements between circuits on specific aspects of the law. These inconsistencies may draw the attention of the Supreme Court, which could feel the need to clarify potential points of confusion.

How Are Appellate Courts Different Compared to District Courts? 

The most notable difference between district courts and appellate courts is the lack of juries. Instead, there is a panel of three judges. In addition, you no longer have the ability to present new evidence once your case reaches the Court of Appeals. Instead, the judges will examine only the specific facts of the trial at the district level and consider potential errors. For the most part, your federal crimes attorney can only provide a written argument called a “brief” at the beginning of this process.

Find a Federal Crimes Attorney in Florida

 If you’ve been searching for a federal crimes lawyer in Florida who can help with appeals, look no further than Foley & Wilson. During a consultation with us, you can learn more about the appeals process. Once you feel confident about the road ahead, we can immediately begin your appeal and fight for your rights in an effective manner. To take the next steps, be sure to book a consultation at your earliest convenience.




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