How does the appeals process work?

The appeals process is one of the areas of law that is often widely misunderstood. However, if you are convicted of or facing charges for a crime in West Virginia, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with it just in case you ever need to use your appeal rights. According to the American Bar Association, the biggest misunderstanding about the appeals process is that the case is retried. This is not true because that would mean double jeopardy, which is illegal under your constitutional rights. The appeals process instead is based on examining errors the defense found in the first trial.

You may not always have a right to appeal depending on your case, but if you do, it starts with filing the proper documents with the court. Keep in mind that the process is filled with deadlines and time limits that are strictly enforced. If you miss a deadline, you lose your chance to appeal. In some cases, the written document is all that is needed by the court and a decision is made.Other times, you will go back to court to provide further arguments.

If you win your appeal, then the decision made initially may be reversed. Your case will go back to the lower court and you may have to go through another trial or the original judgement may be modified. If you lose your appeal, then you may be able to take it to a higher court above the appeals court and try to appeal again. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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