Criminal Defense in Orange County
Defense Against DUI Charges

DUI Appeals Lawyer in Orange County

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You only have one chance to appeal a trial court's decision—do not waste that opportunity without a dedicated professional protecting your best interests. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs in Anaheim, our DUI defense attorney has handled over 2,500 cases and secured 1,100+ dismissals. The success of your appeal may hinge on the effectiveness of the written and oral brief. Do not let an ill-equipped attorney squander your future opportunities! Our legal team may help you demonstrate to a judge that legal issues could have contributed to an erroneous DUI conviction.

Get the basics about appealing DUI charges:

Learn about the steps of the appeal process:

Assess your legal options before and after an appeal:

The Basics of DUI Appeal

What is an appeal?

An appeal is when the defendant (also known as the appellant) asks a higher appellate court to reconsider the conviction or sentencing of a case. Appeals may only be made after a final judgment has been entered in your trial case. A judge who reviews the appeal may reverse the conviction, overrule a verdict, or call for a new trial. Defendants have a right to one appeal of a conviction—if the appeal is denied, you may not make a second appeal.

The Case Procedure in Appellate Court

If an appellate judge accepts an appeal, they will review the record of a case and look for procedural or substantive issues that may have affected the conviction or sentencing. The case record includes court transcripts of everything said by the judge, attorneys, and witnesses, along with objects and documentation admitted into evidence.

In addition, the appellate court will look at written briefs filed by both sides of the case. Typically, the appellant files an opening brief, to which the respondent replies with their own brief. The appellant is often given a chance to file a second brief to defend their reason for appeal. The appellate court may also hear oral arguments from each side before making a decision.

The Steps in the Appeal Process

File a Notice of Appeal with the Trial Court

Once the trial court has reached a judgment on your DUI case, you may file a Notice of Appeal for the misdemeanor or felony charges. A misdemeanor appeal must be filed within 30 days, and a felony appeal must be filed within 60 days. If a Notice of Appeal is not filed within these periods, the individual loses their opportunity to appeal the conviction or sentence.

Request Case Records and Oral Proceedings

After the Notice of Appeal is filed, you will have 20 days to request for the appellate court to obtain a copy of the case record and a record of oral proceedings. Alongside briefs, these records are the only evidence that an appellate judge will have to review your case—the more information you make available to the judge, the stronger your appeal may be.

Once a request for the case record and record of oral proceedings is made, the court gives defendants 20 days to submit a Proposed Statement of Appeal. The statement is a summary of the proceedings you must prepare and have approved by the trial judge that decided your case. Once the case record, record of oral proceedings, and statement of appeal are certified and submitted to the appellate court, the briefs and arguments phase begins.

Submitting Briefs in Appellate Court

Briefs play an essential role in the success of a case appeal. There are strict rules in the visual presentation of briefs and their content. Because briefs are limited to a word count, it is crucial that your brief is able to adequately defend your appeal. If a brief is longer than the word limit, the court may ignore the rest of the brief, or disregard it entirely.

Three briefs are filed over the course of an appeal: the Opening Brief, Respondent's Brief, and Reply Brief. As the appellant, you will present the Opening Brief. Typically, Opening Briefs must be filed within 40 days after the appeal record is filed. This brief should provide an effective written explanation of how errors made during your trial case resulted in a wrongful conviction or sentence.

After you submit the Opening Brief, the state has 30 days to submit a Respondent's Brief. In this brief, they will attempt to defend the court's ruling or discredit the appeal attempt. Fortunately, as the defendant, you have the opportunity to present a Reply Brief within 20 days after the Respondent's Brief is submitted to the appellate court.

Presenting Oral Arguments

After all briefs have been filed, the court will appoint a date for oral arguments. Both sides will be given an opportunity to orally defend their position. The oral argument is not mandatory—you may waive the argument and let the court make their decision based on your briefs and the case records. However, the oral argument is an opportunity to bolster your appeal. Our DUI attorney may help you prepare a strong oral argument and present it on your behalf in court. When it comes to protecting your rights, it is often in your best interest to use all of the tools available.

The Appellate Court Rules on the Case

Once oral arguments have been made, or after the parties have waived their arguments, the appellate judge will review all of the information that has been presented and decide on the outcome of the appeal. The court has 90 days to make a ruling, and depending on the circumstances of a case and the timing of the procedures, the court may take the full amount of time to come to a decision. However, your work is done—if you have effectively performed all of the previous steps, then you may have the best possible chance of securing a successful appeal.

Appeal Timeline and Deadlines

No matter how quickly you are able to complete the steps of the appeal process, any one of the procedures may create small delays in reaching a ruling. Generally, you may expect a misdemeanor appeal to take as much as six months to complete. Felony appeals may take as long as one year. However, the length of these processes does not discount their effectiveness.

Keep in mind that there are deadlines with every step of the appeal procedure. Although some deadlines may be extended under certain circumstances, the court strictly adheres to most of the deadlines involved. With careful preparation and dedicated legal representation, you may prepare an effective appeal of your DUI charge and obtain a positive resolution.

Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus

Writs are orders from a higher court that call for a lower court to take specific actions. In criminal cases and DUI cases, a writ of habeas corpus may allow you to challenge pretrial detention or the jail sentence you receive. A successful appeal identifies errors in legal procedure and other miscarriages of justice. If you or a loved one is serving a sentence of imprisonment, a writ of habeas corpus may help you challenge a court order and restore your freedom!

Is filing an appeal worth the time?

Whether you are preparing to begin trial for your DUI charge or to face the judge's sentencing, you should be considering your options with a DUI appeal. For more than 30 years, the DUI defense lawyer at our firm has helped clients pursue an effective course of action to minimize their penalties and work toward case dismissal. When it comes to DUI appeals, our team works hard to review the evidence of the arrest and the trial court proceedings in order to present a strong brief to the appellate court. If it can secure your freedom, it is worth your time!

Do not settle for a lesser defense. Schedule a free case evaluation with our Anaheim firm today!


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