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Downers Grove criminal appeal lawyerNothing is perfect -- not even the criminal justice system. Though we often put our faith in the system, sometimes mistakes do happen, and innocent people are convicted while those who are really guilty walk free. Because there is no way to eliminate mistakes entirely, United States and Illinois law allows for certain actions to be taken if you or your lawyer believe that you were wrongly convicted or that you did not have a fair trial. Whether a mistake was made intentionally or unintentionally in a criminal case, you always have the right to file an appeal.

Filing an Appeal

The time directly after conviction and sentencing is critical. You only have 30 days from your sentencing to file a Notice of Appeal with both the Illinois Circuit Court and the appropriate appellate court. In order for your appeal to be valid, it must be based on an error that took place during your trial. The Court of Appeals will not re-try your case -- they will be looking at the mistakes that were made, which can include:

  • Errors concerning evidence, such as the exclusion of evidence that the jury should have heard or the inclusion of evidence that was unfair or prejudiced
  • Misconduct, whether intentional or unintentional, by prosecutors
  • Defense errors, such as insufficient or inadequate defense

Making a Decision

After the higher court looks at the case, the evidence toward errors, and the errors themselves, the court will make a ruling. The court can:

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