If you were charged with a crime and convicted at trial, your case still may not be over. Under North Carolina law, there are a number of different grounds on which the criminally-convicted can seek to have their convictions overturned. Our attorneys have successfully represented numerous clients in criminal appeals; and, if you believe that you were wrongfully convicted, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation about your case.
The North Carolina Criminal Appeals Process
The following are answers to some frequently-asked questions about appealing a criminal conviction in North Carolina. It is important to note that these answers are for convictions in state court only. If you were convicted in federal court, different rules will apply.
Q: What do I need to do to appeal my conviction?
A: In order to appeal a criminal conviction in North Carolina, the first step is to submit a notice of appeal. You can either submit a notice of appeal orally during your criminal case or by filing a written notice with the court and serving it on the district attorney.
Q: How long do I have to file a notice of appeal?
A: You must file a notice of appeal within 14 days of receiving your sentence from the judge. However, in certain scenarios it is possible to seek post-conviction relief much later after a conviction as well.
Q: What happens after I file a notice of appeal?
A: Once you file a notice of appeal, the court reporter will prepare a transcript of the trial court proceedings. He or she has 60 days to do so (except in capital cases, in which the court reporter must prepare the transcript within 120 days). Your appellate lawyer will receive a copy of the transcript, and then he or she will have 35 days (or 70 days in a capital case) to submit the “Record on Appeal” detailing all of the errors that prevented you from receiving a fair trial.
Your lawyer will also submit a written brief containing legal arguments that support the errors listed in the Record on Appeal, and the State’s attorney will file a brief arguing against the errors in response. In some cases, the attorneys will also present their arguments orally before the court.
Q: Which court hears criminal appeals in North Carolina?
A: The North Carolina Court of Appeals hears most appeals of state criminal convictions. The Supreme Court of North Carolina hears capital appeals.
Q: How long will it take to find out if my conviction will be overturned?
A: Criminal appeals in North Carolina can easily last several months, and some cases take years. Once the attorneys file their briefs (and present their oral arguments, if applicable), it generally takes around six months to receive a decision from the court. But, depending on the court’s caseload and a number of other factors, this time period could be significantly longer.
Q: What does it take to win a criminal appeal in North Carolina?
A: In order to have your conviction overturned, the appellate court must find that there was a “prejudicial” error that prevented you from receiving a fair trial. This means that there must have been an error that unfairly affected the outcome of your case. Not all errors will warrant having a conviction overturned.
Discuss Your Criminal Appeal With an Attorney at Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan, PLLC
If you would like more information about filing a criminal appeal in North Carolina, we would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your case. To speak with a Raleigh criminal appeal attorney at our office, call (919) 833-3114 or request an appointment online today.