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Yes and no. There is a review process for pleas of guilty, but it is not considered an appeal. The scope of a PCR (see #5, above) is generally limited to whether a constitutional right was violated in the course of the plea proceeding, or whether the person’s attorney rendered ineffective assistance of counsel and the defendant suffered some form of legal prejudice.
The initiating step in any appellate situation is to notify the trial court that you intend to appeal the conviction. This is done in Arizona by filing a “Notice of Appeal” with the trial court, indicating to the court the issue for which you are seeking review. In lower courts, the court usually provides forms and charges a nominal fee for processing; in Superior Court, the process is more formal.
This is where most people will run afoul of the criminal justice process. From the date of your conviction, that is, when the sentence is imposed, in lower courts, you can have as little as 14 days to file your Notice of Appeal; in Superior Court, it is generally 20 days. Failing to file a Notice of Appeal within those short time frames results in a waiver of your right to appeal – once that has occurred, it can be very difficult if not impossible to pursue the appeal any further.
Much like in the trial court, the appellate court has proceedings and the parties have names. However, in appellate law, the titles are somewhat different. The “defendant” in the trial court is now called the “appellant”, the State or Plaintiff is called the “appellee”, the trial court is usually referred to either as the “trial court” or the “lower court”, and the appellate court is usually called the “reviewing court” or by its formal name, the “Court of Appeals”, “Supreme Court”, or “Superior Court”, depending on the circumstances.
These can vary greatly, but an appellate court will usually reverse a trial court if it feels the trial court: 1) committed a mistake, and 2) the mistake was severe enough that the only way to fix it is a new: trial, hearing, or sentencing. While it is usually only in extraordinary circumstances, the appellate court has the power to order that the case be dismissed entirely!
Yes, there are options even once a person has been convicted or “lost their case” that can occur before an appeal (and that you can still pursue an appeal). The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure permit a defendant to file other requests in the trial court to seek a new trial or revisit an issue that might have changed the outcome of the case, depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. In the lower courts, municipal and justice courts, filing an appeal “stays” the sentence. You do not need to make payments on fines, do classes, or serve any jail time until your appeal is resolved. This alone can delay the imposition of your sentence for months. In Superior Court, however, an appeal typically does not stay a sentence, you must still be incarcerated or be on probation while your appeal is pending.
This varies greatly depending on the type of case/issue that is being appealed. It can be as little as a few months or as much as a few years depending on the appeal and the court.
While most criminal attorneys in Arizona will do trials, very few do appeals. Appellate law is complicated and has nuances that even many lawyers do not wish to try to handle; it is also cumbersome and requires the attorney to review records of proceedings, trials, and sometimes reams of transcripts before writing the appellate briefs, themselves an undertaking rife with esoteric formalities. The Weingart Firm’s appellate practice attorney has handled scores if not over one hundred appeals from the lower courts and Superior Court up to and including the Arizona Court of Appeals, where few lawyers will ever appear. While we can never promise a specific result, we are familiar with the appellate process, the judges and courts involved, and have keen eyes for appellate issues that less experienced attorneys might miss. Once your case is on appeal, we will handle the rest and you can be assured your case is in the best hands possible.
For more information on Appealing A Case With A Guilty Plea, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by contacting us today.