Finding yourself convicted of a crime in Arizona may leave you in a bind. You may face charges and consequences you never thought you would have to deal with, and contemplating it is overwhelming you.

Conviction does not always mean you have to face the sentence imposed by the court. Some situations may qualify you to file an appeal. While there are specific parameters your case may have to meet, understanding the process may help you determine if this route may help you get past this hurdle.

What an appeal means

An appeal is a written request to get a higher court to review your case’s disposition in the lower court. It is a legal process that allows defendants to fight the judicial process that led to their conviction and sentence. Sometimes, an appellant (defendant) tries to get a new proceeding. Other times, he or she may wish only to reduce the court-imposed sentence.

Qualifications to file an appeal

Not every case is fit for an appeal. You cannot file an appeal just because you lost. There are only certain grounds that must exist for the higher court to accept the appeal. The discovery of new evidence is normally not acceptable grounds for an appeal, unless the evidence was not available during the original trial due to prosecutorial or police mishandling. An appeal is not the time to represent your case. A higher court usually only grants an appeal based on a mistake in the lower court process that may have rendered the verdict unfair.

Getting a case through the appeal process takes time, persistence and patience. It may not wind up as dramatic as those scenes on TV or the movies, but the outcome may set you up to have your record restored.