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New Braunfels Criminal Appeals Lawyer

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A direct appeal is when you ask one of Texas’ fourteen courts of appeals to overturn your sentence because of a legal error that your judge made during your trial. Direct appeals in Central Texas will likely be filed with the Third Court of Appeals in Austin or the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio.

For example, suppose the trial judge excluded evidence that might have benefited you or admitted evidence that harmed you. In that case, that ruling may be the basis for overturning your conviction.

Say that the State prosecutes you for assault. You wish to offer a witness that will testify that you are a peaceful person. The judge refuses to let your witness testify. Or, say the State calls a witness that testifies that you are a violent person. Both examples might form the basis for an appeal that can overturn your conviction.

Or, say that the judge allowed a state’s witness to relate hearsay on the witness stand. Or, during jury selection, the judge seated a person onto the jury to which your lawyer objected. Those objections might constitute a legal error and could be the basis for overturning your conviction.

I Can Help

If you want to file a direct appeal in Comal County, or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County, contact me for a free case review.

Types of Errors in Criminal Cases

The most important type of error is a constitutional error. For example, the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution says that, with exceptions, the police cannot seize evidence from you without a warrant. The police take drugs from you without a warrant, and one of the exceptions to the warrant rule does not apply. A jury then convicts you for possession of a controlled substance. A basis for your appeal would be the violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Recently, a good source of error has been the jury charge—the document the judge prepares for the jury instructing them how to decide your guilt or innocence and your sentence. For example, suppose the judge refuses your request to include a lesser included offense in the jury charge. In that case, that could be the basis for an appeal.

You must preserve an error during a trial to appeal it later. Preserving error during trial means that your lawyer promptly objected to the judge’s decision. The court reporter must also record the objection. A direct appeal usually only consists of objections found in the trial record.

Appellate Courts

There are fourteen courts of appeals in Texas. An appeal from a trial court will go to one of them, depending on your region. Because of its large size, Central Texas has several courts of appeals. For example, Comal County and Hays County are in the Third Court of Appeals. Guadalupe County cases are appealed to the Fourth Court of Appeals.

If you lose at the Court of Appeals, you may appeal to the highest court in the State—the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Such an appeal is known as a petition for discretionary review.

Finally, suppose you lose at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and your case contains a federal question. In that case, you may appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

Deadlines for Filing Direct Appeals in Central Texas

There are strict deadlines for the direct appeal. You must give formal notice to the trial court of your intent to appeal within thirty days of receiving your sentence. A motion for a new trial expands the deadline to ninety days. You must file a motion for a new trial within thirty days of the sentence.

While your appeal is pending, you are eligible for an appeal bond if your sentence was less than ten years and not for an aggravated felony.

I Can Help

If you want to file a direct appeal in Comal County, or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County, contact me for a free case review.

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