Right to Counsel On First Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has extended a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel to include the right to have a lawyer handle the first appeal after conviction.

After a person has been convicted of a crime, the first appeal is usually referred to as “appeal as a matter of right.” The right to an appeal is generally waived if the defendant pleads guilty before the criminal trial; however, under certain circumstances, it still may be possible to appeal the conviction.

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If a defendant was unable to afford to hire a lawyer during the earlier stages of the criminal proceedings, the state or federal court will also appoint a lawyer to represent them during the first appeals process. Beyond the first appeal, the defendant is not provided a lawyer under the Sixth Amendment.

Cases for Appeal

When a criminal conviction or sentence is the result of an “error of law,” a criminal defense lawyer can analyze court records to find a basis for an appeal. If evidence that should have been admitted in the case was not or the defendant’s rights were violated during the trial process, a lawyer can point these things out in an appeal.

If during the trial a defendant’s lawyer inappropriately argued or made other mistakes during the case, it may be possible for the defendant to get a new lawyer. The new criminal defense lawyer can appeal the court’s decision based on ineffective assistance of counsel.

Appeal Your Conviction with Help from a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing a trial or have been convicted of criminal charges, you can discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can explain the criminal process and may file an appeal for you if necessary.

Contact a lawyer today by filling out our free online evaluation form or calling 877-445-1059 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a lawyer near you.

The above summary of the right to counsel is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For the latest information on these laws, speak to a criminal defense attorney in your area.