An individual convicted of a criminal offense in Texas has a right to appeal that conviction. It can, however, be a complicated process that must be initiated quickly in order to have any sort of advantage.
An experienced attorney is essential to filing an appeal in Texas—one who has both the knowledge and experience in navigating the appeal process.
In the meantime, learn here about how appeals work in Texas.
Below is a brief overview of the steps necessary to appeal a conviction in this state and a few of the most frequently asked questions about appeals.
Criminal Appeals in Texas: How They Work
There are rules that govern the process of appeals in Texas. They are known as the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.
An appeal must be filed within 30 days of conviction during which the defendant and their attorney must decide which type of appeal to file. There are two different types: a notice of appeal and a motion for a new trial—the specifics of each are outlined next.
Notice of Appeal
In most cases, a notice of appeal is filed right after a verdict is rendered in a case in open court. That’s because if a notice is not filed within 30 days of the verdict, the right to appeal is lost. For this reason, the defendant and appellate attorney must act quickly and with singular purpose.
At the same time a Notice of Appeal is filed, a motion for the appointment of an appellate counsel may be filed should trial counsel, for whatever reason does not want or cannot participate in the appellate process. This generally occurs when an indigent defendant does not have the financial means to retain counsel. An affidavit of indigence must accompany this motion.
This helps protect the right to have appellate counsel appointed by the court and provides defendant with an opportunity to secure funds necessary for retained counsel.
Motion for a New Trial
The other option is to file what is called a Motion for a New Trial. This is the option should be utilized if there is a flawed judgment at the original trial.
It must also be submitted within 30 days of the verdict date and presented to the judge within 10 days of the date it is filed.
This motion helps to extend the deadline for filing an appeal from 30 to 90 days. This procedure is often used by attorneys when they feel a reversible error occurred during the trial.
If You Lose a Texas Appeal
If you file everything in a timely manner and still are denied an appeal, is there anything you can do?
From the date that your appeal is denied, you have 15 days to file what is called a motion for rehearing.
You also have 30 days to petition the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for a discretionary review. This motion cannot exceed 15 pages and must declare why the case should be reviewed beyond the lower appeals court.
Again, this is a delicate process where a defendant should have an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney familiar with the discretionary review process.
If You Win Your Appeal in Texas
If you are granted an appeal by the court, then the case is returned to the trial court for a new trial. The prosecution is given the option to retry the case or dismiss it.
Understanding these appeal rights is incredibly important following a criminal conviction. The need to have competent professionals in this process cannot be overstated.