Handling The Appeals Of Criminal Convictions
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 me, attorney Jill R. Cohen, who will determine possible causes for an appeal and who will zealously pursue justice on your behalf. I understand how overwhelming it can be facing a conviction that you believe is wrong. I am committed to helping you and your family fight for justice and pursue the freedom you deserve.
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 in which court you will need to go to for appealing that undesired decision. Having handled numerous appeals at the different court levels, I understand the legal processes and provide you with the representation you deserve. Below is some general information about the court levels when filing an appeal:
- Municipal court: The municipal court is the lowest tier of courts. 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 six 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: Superior court is the next tier and 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); juvenile crimes, divorce hearings, restraining orders and other family matters; and 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 hearings on appealed decisions made in a superior court. It hears appeals from law and chancery divisions of New Jersey 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.
- Supreme court: 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 amendments – 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.
Reasons To Believe You Can And Should Appeal Your Criminal Conviction In New Jersey
Each and every New Jersey 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. I know 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 New Jersey; a judge or jury may have made an erroneous decision; or procedural errors may have occurred in your previous trial. I will leave no stone unturned as I seek to get your conviction appealed and return you to your family.
Get Started On Your Appeal Now
I serve criminal defendants throughout South Jersey in Salem, Atlantic, Camden, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, Winslow, Pennsauken, Voorhees, Lindenwold, Haddon Township, Collingswood and Haddonfield.