New Jersey Criminal Appeals Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Appeals Attorney Helps Clients Appeal Convictions in Camden County, Gloucester County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Salem County, Mercer County, Cape May County, and Across NJ
Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, hearing a jury foreperson announce a guilty verdict against you or a loved one is a devastating experience. It is important to be aware, however, that all hope is not lost. Whatever the original charges and the outcome of an original criminal case may have been, an appeal could be your second chance at justice.
It’s critically important to choose a criminal defense lawyer who has considerable experience successfully appealing criminal convictions for clients in New Jersey. You need to select an experienced South Jersey criminal attorney, like Jill R. Cohen, who will determine possible causes for an appeal and who will zealously pursue justice on your behalf. Contact the Law Office of Jill Cohen today for the quality New Jersey criminal defense lawyer you need. She will even visit a client at a prison location when needed.
Characteristics of the Four Different Court Levels in New Jersey
Different courts involve different legal processes that you will want to be aware of whenever you are scheduled to appear in court. Some courts will deal with lighter disorderly crimes while others deal with only appeals or more serious crimes. Which court you are sentenced by is one of the main determining factors on which court you will need to go to for appealing that undesired decision. This is why you need an experienced criminal appeals attorney like Jill R. Cohen, Esq. who will understand the legal process, and provide you with the representation you deserve.
The Municipal Court is the lowest tier of courts with the least amount of legal authority overall. You will usually end up at this court for charges such as regular and petty crimes, municipal ordinance violations, a DWI, traffic violation, or other minor charges. Unlike other tiers, the municipal court holds no formal trials and has no jury involved. The judge is the one who makes the decision of guilt versus innocence and associated penalties such as up to 6 months in prison, fines, license suspension, community service, probation, or other restitution options for the victim(s). An appeal of a municipal court claim will go to the Superior Court.
Superior Court is the next tier which has a jury, unlike Municipal Court. It is divided into three sections in New Jersey: Criminal Court, Family Court, and Civil Court. This court level hears indictable criminal offenses (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree), as well as juvenile crimes, divorce hearings, restraining orders, and other family matters, civil suits, and appeals from municipal court final decisions. An appeal of a superior court claim will go to the Appellate Division Court.
Appellate Division Court
Appellate Division exists specifically for having hearings on appealed decisions made in a Superior Court. Specifically, it hears appeals from law and Chancery Divisions of NJ Superior Court, Tax Court, and final decisions made by State administrative agencies. New Jersey Appellate division deals with over 7,000 appeals per year. In most cases, the Appellate Division is the highest that appeals will go in which a court will decide to affirm, reverse, remand, or modify a previous court decision.
Four types of court decisions regarding appeals:
- Affirm – The court agrees with the previous court’s decision and keeps the decision as is.
- Reverse or Vacate – The court decides the previous court’s decision was incorrect and the decision is reversed or vacated.
- Remand – The court forces the lower court to rehear the case again. An appellate court can force a remand for the whole case, or a part of the case. Often times, you will see a case remanded to the lower court, but the appellate court will reverse or vacate part of the decision in the same opinion or order.
- Modify – The court changes part of the lower tier court’s decision such as deciding a person is guilty of some charges but not of others or changing a fine amount.
The Supreme Court is at the state level and is the highest court tier there is. It is very rare that something will go past the Appellate Division Court in New Jersey. Usually, the cases that are before the New Jersey Supreme Court involve the New Jersey constitution, individual rights – such as the 1st or 4th Amendment, or social and political cases. The appealing side must file a writ of certiorari, and their appeal will only be heard by the New Jersey Supreme Court if that writ is granted.
The Process of Filing for an Appeal on a Judicial Decision at Different Court Levels in New Jersey
When you want to appeal a court decision, there are different court levels that an appeal can go to. Where the appeal goes to depends first where the trial was initially held. There are three different levels of New Jersey criminal court involved with appeals: Superior, Appellate, and Supreme Court. Appellate court is usually where most appeals are heard and most cases are concluded at that point.
Appealing Municipal Court Decisions
To file for a Criminal Appeal in New Jersey for Municipal Court decisions such as guilty or excessive sentencing, you must file in the Superior Court Law Division, in the County where the case was originally heard and tried. In accordance to New Jersey law, the appeal must be submitted within 20 days of the sentencing and the prosecuting attorney and county clerk must be served proper appeal papers within five days of the appeal submission along with a filing fee. Jill Cohen has been handling municipal court appeals for years, and she will ensure a smooth appellate process to comply with all deadlines and avoid any dismissal of the appeal request.
Appealing Superior Court Decisions
At the Superior Court level, a criminal appeal to a court judgment must be filed to the Superior Court’s Appellate Division specifically. An attorney has 45 days within the date of the Superior Court’s order to file an appeal to the Appellate Division. Jill Cohen has filed many Superior Court appeals in her practice and is very familiar with the process in the appellate court. She knows how to advocate on your behalf to show how the Superior Court erred in their decision. Ms. Cohen will make sure to seek and argue any possible mistakes made to help get your case overturned.
Appealing Appellate Division Court Decisions
Although an appeal to the Appellate Division is usually the final stop for someone who wishes to get a reversal on a guilty criminal charge, in some instances, that ruling can be appealed one final time to New Jersey state’s Supreme Court. The New Jersey Supreme Court does not hear nearly as many cases or review as many petitions as the Appellate Division, and they only grant a small number of petitions each year. Often, the New Jersey Supreme Court will only consider an appeal application in situations where there is a clear violation of human rights or there is a constitutional issue at hand. These are the types of cases that, when decided, will impact not just the parties in the case, but also the entire state of New Jersey. A very skilled and creative petition must be crafted to get to this level, requiring an experienced criminal defense attorney such as Jill R. Cohen, Esq.
Reasons to Believe You Can and Should Appeal Your Criminal Conviction in New Jersey
Each and every NJ criminal case is different — as different as the circumstances of the alleged crime, the charges for the alleged crime, the attorneys involved, the jury members, and even the judge who presided over the case. As you select a Camden County criminal lawyer to handle your appeal, look for someone with depth and breadth in criminal law. South Jersey criminal defense attorney Jill Cohen has successfully won many appeals in cases such as DWI, assault, domestic violence, and restraining orders, traffic offenses, and even homicides. Ms. Cohen’s unique experience allows her the opportunity to see the case clearly from both the prosecutor and defendant side of the case. Her experiences include:
- Ms. Cohen is a former assistant prosecutor in Camden County and has significant experience working with the State’s attorneys and knows how they build criminal cases. She will use that knowledge to pursue your appeal.
- Ms. Cohen is a former assistant Philadelphia district attorney and, in that position, she served at the appellate level for two years, arguing for leniency and relief for convicted defendants.
- Ms. Cohen is a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney. Only a small percentage of lawyers are recognized with this honor. This means Ms. Cohen has a significant amount of experience handling criminal cases of all types and is respected by her peers for her professionalism and success.
Jill Cohen knows that there are numerous reasons for pursuing an appeal in your case. For example, your previous defense attorney may have failed to meet acceptable standards of criminal defense in NJ, a judge or jury may have made an erroneous decision, or procedural errors may have occurred in your previous trial. Ms. Cohen will leave no stone unturned as she seeks to get your conviction appealed and return you to your family. Contact Jill Cohen’s office today to schedule a free consultation for your criminal appeal. Jill Cohen serves criminal defendants throughout South Jersey in Camden, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Winslow, Pennsauken, Voorhees, Lindenwold, Haddon Township, Collingswood and Haddonfield.