Were you charged with a criminal offense in North Carolina and convicted of that offense? You may be able to file an appeal in your criminal case.
There are numerous reasons that a defendant can appeal a criminal conviction, and in many cases, the appeal can be successful. However, as with other areas of criminal law, there are specific rules that govern the criminal appeals process in the state.
The North Carolina Department of Justice provides information about the criminal appeals process, emphasizing that defendants are given the right to appeal decisions.
What do you need to do in order to file a criminal appeal? We will provide you with a list of steps in the North Carolina criminal appeals process. It is important to recognize that these steps are only applicable if you were convicted of a crime under North Carolina state law.
If your conviction occurred in a federal court in North Carolina under federal law, then your appeals process will be different.
- Submit Your Notice of Appeal
After a criminal conviction under North Carolina state law, the first step in the appeals process is submitting a notice of appeal. This can be done in writing after the conviction, or it can be done orally immediately after your conviction in open court. If the notice of appeal is given in writing, then it must be given within 14 days from the date that the defendant was sentenced. (When a notice of appeal is submitted orally in open court, it occurs immediately, so the defendant is clearly within any time limit requirement.)
- Work With An Experienced Appellate Criminal Defense Lawyer
While you may file your notice of appeal with the criminal defense attorney in your initial case, it is important to work with a Raleigh criminal defense attorney who has experience in the appellate process for your appeal. When you decide which lawyer to hire for your appeal, you will want to ask questions about the attorney’s appellate experience in the North Carolina court system.
- Submit the Record on Appeal
The criminal appeals process can take a very long time, but certain elements have specific time limits. Once the defendant submits a notice of appeal, then the court reporter prepares a transcript of the trial.
This transcript is also known as the written record. If it was a capital case—or a case in which the defendant was sentenced to death for first-degree murder—the court reporter has 120 days to prepare the written record. If it was not a capital case, then the court reporter has 60 days to prepare the written record. In some cases, the court may grant an extension of 30 days to the court reporter.
Once the written record has been delivered to the defendant, the defendant’s appellate lawyer has either 35 days (for a non-capital case) or 70 days (for a capital case) to prepare the Record on Appeal. The Record on Appeal is meant to detail potential legal errors that might have prevented a fair sentence or trial.
Once the Record on Appeal has been filed, the appeal will be assigned to a State’s attorney. Capital cases on appeal are heard by the Supreme Court of North Carolina, while non-capital appeals are heard by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Seek Advice from a North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney
Do you need help filing a criminal appeal? A criminal defense attorney in Raleigh can help. Contact Tarlton & Polk for more information.