faqs

Frequently Asked Question



How is a criminal appeal different than a criminal trial? 

A criminal appeal takes place in most circumstances following conviction.  An appeal is not heard by the same judge who presided over the trial and no jury is present, instead, it is typically heard by a panel of three judges of the court of appeals.  In Minnesota, the Minnesota Court of Appeals hears most, but not all criminal appeals of state convictions.  At the Minnesota Court of Appeals, a three judge panel is assigned to hear your case and to make a decision regarding the appellate issues you raise.  The issues are initially identified and argued by briefing to the panel.  After briefing is complete, the matter is typically set on for oral argument which is an opportunity for your appellate counsel to argue to the court why the redress you seek should be granted.  In addition, some appeals are taken directly to the Minnesota Supreme Court as of right, but not many.  Those few cases that go directly to the Minnesota Supreme Court are identified by rule.  The Minnesota Supreme Court also has the discretion to hear appeals from the Minnesota Court of Appeals by Petition for Discretionary Review.

Because appeals are very time sensitive, you should talk to an attorney immediately following conviction regarding your appellate rights.

Is it better to have my trial lawyer handle my criminal appeal or better to have a new lawyer handle it? 

Your trial counsel is usually in the best position to assess whether or not you need a different lawyer to handle the appeal of an adverse jury verdict.  Some trial attorneys prefer not to handle appeals because of the exacting nature of appellate work. Others feel as comfortable in the courtroom as they do researching and writing briefs.  Since an appeal involves a review of the entire transcript of your trial, you will not be disadvantaged in any way by hiring a new lawyer to handle your appeal.  In fact, the transcript, together with the trial exhibits, is the record on appeal that is considered, together with briefing and oral argument, by the appellate court in deciding your case.

What rights do I have now that I have been charged with a crime? 

In all criminal proceedings, you have rights that are guaranteed to you by the United States Constitution.  In state court matters, you also have rights granted to you by the Minnesota Constitution that are coextensive with or which may be more expansive than those set forth in the United States Constitution. 

What happens at my arraignment?

An arraignment is usually the first appearance that a criminal defendant has before a judge.  In most circumstances, you are identified for the record and informed of the charges against you.  If the issue of your release has not been previously determined, arguments regarding your conditional release may be heard at the arraignment.  As a general proposition, conditions of release may include bail which is typically ordered to secure the defendant’s continued appearance at further proceedings.  Other conditions may be imposed at the time of your arraignment.

My family member/friend was arrested.  What do I do?

Call a lawyer.  When you call, it is very helpful if you have information regarding your family member’s full name, date of birth, when he or she was arrested, the arresting entity, and any information you have regarding the nature of the charges.  In most circumstances, we will be able to use that information to determine where the person is and the status of his or her release or first court appearance.

How much will it cost? 

In criminal matters at the trial level, fees are dependent upon several factors:  the severity level of the charge, the venue, the complexity of the legal issues involved, the stage of the litigation at the time of consultation, and the likelihood of resolution of the matter short of trial.  At the appellate level, fees are generally based on the length of the trial and the complexity of the legal issues.

Notice

None of the content on this page is intended to constitute legal advice, the reader should consult with an attorney in order to obtain a legal opinion regarding their case. 

This website provides general information only and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should consult an attorney about your particular situation.