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What are my options if I lose at trial?

Unfortunately, there have been several noteworthy cases in which New Jersey residents have had spend time in jail or face other consequences for crimes they did not commit. In other situations, a decision in a criminal case could be unfair because a judge ignored an established legal principle or even a constitutional right.

In still other cases, it may be that person’s own defense attorney made some key mistakes that could have affected the result. Losing a trial can be very upsetting, especially if the loss also involves the prospect of going to prison, losing one’s job or the like.

However, in the midst of the emotion, a person in Haddon Township should remember that he or she does have legal options for continuing to fight for his or her freedom and reputation.

An appeal is an option after an unfavorable result

Criminal trials are held in both the Municipal Court and the Superior Court. The Superior Court typically hears more serious criminal violations, while DWIs, traffic tickets and the like get heard in Municipal Court, but a person can ask the Superior Court to review a decision.

Superior Court decisions get appealed to the Appellate Division and, in some cases, to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Handling an appeal can be a complicated affair, as an appeal is not just a matter of asking for a do-over in other court.

These courts each have many rules and practices, some of which are quite complicated, that they will insist upon. Not following the rules can in some cases mean a person will not have a chance to appeal.

Post-conviction relief is another alternative

In some cases, though, an appeal might not be possible or even the best legal option. In other cases, a person may have already tried to appeal unsuccessfully but has some additional information that can help them get a more favorable result.

In these cases, a petition for post-conviction relief is a means of challenging a conviction or sentence.

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