Federal Appeals Lawyers
Our Highly-Experienced Appellate Litigators Represent Clients in Federal Criminal Appeals Nationwide
When you take a federal criminal case to trial, there are two possible outcomes: Win or lose. Success is never guaranteed; and, no matter how much the evidence stacks up in your favor, there is always a chance that the judge or jury will find you guilty. Fortunately, defendants in the federal criminal justice system can appeal their verdicts and sentences as a matter of right; and, in federal jurisprudence, there are several grounds for seeking to overturn an unjust guilty verdict or sentence on appeal.
At Oberheiden P.C., our federal defense team includes several lawyers who have extensive experience handling federal criminal appeals. This includes appeals filed in U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal across the country as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result of this experience, our lawyers are well-versed in the highly-complex federal appellate rules and procedures, and our lawyers have an intimate understanding of what it takes to overturn a federal criminal conviction or sentence at the appellate level.
Federal Criminal Appeals We Handle
Our federal appellate lawyers handle criminal appeals in all of our substantive areas of practice. Collectively, our lawyers (who include several former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys) have centuries of combined experience on both sides of high-stakes criminal cases involving:
- Conspiracy crimes
- Drug crimes
- Fraud crimes (i.e., bank, healthcare, mortgage, and insurance fraud)
- Government contract and program fraud (i.e., Medicare fraud and PPP fraud)
- Intellectual property theft and computer crimes
- Mail fraud and wire fraud
- Public corruption and bribery
- Securities and antitrust law violations
- Tax evasion and money laundering
- Theft of government property
- Other federal white-collar crimes
We have successfully represented business owners, licensed professionals, political candidates, elected officials, and numerous other clients at the trial and appellate levels. Since our firm handles both trials and appeals, we are able to efficiently identify issues during trial that provide grounds for federal appeals, and we are able to use our appellate insights to craft legal arguments that are custom-tailored to the relevant grounds for seeking reversal of our client’s convictions and sentences.
5 Key Facts to Understand About Your Federal Appeal
If you have recently been convicted of a crime or sentenced in federal court, there are some important facts you need to know about filing an appeal. These facts include:
1. An Appeal Is Not a Retrial
An appeal is not a retrial of your federal criminal case. Rather than focusing on the merits of the U.S. Department of Justice’s allegations against you, an appeal must focus on issues that arose during the trial phase of your case. For example, potential grounds for filing a federal appeal include (but are not limited to):
- The trial judge committed errors during voir dire (jury selection)
- The trial judge improperly admitted or excluded evidence
- The trial judge ruled incorrectly on pre-trial or trial motions
- The weight of the evidence does not support the judge’s or jury’s verdict
- Your sentence is not supported by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines or violates the constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment
2. You Can Appeal Your Conviction or Your Sentence (or Both)
On appeal, it is possible to challenge your conviction, sentence, or both. Successfully challenging your conviction may result in a remand or retrial, while successfully challenging your sentence can send your case back to the trial court for re-sentencing consistent with the appellate court’s ruling.
3. Trial Counsel Must Preserve Issues for Appeal
To maintain your eligibility to file an appeal, your trial counsel must preserve certain grounds for appeal at the trial stage. This is one reason (among many) why it is important to have a trial team with federal appeals attorneys who have experience at the appellate level.
4. Strict Deadlines and Filing Requirements Apply
While you can appeal your conviction or sentence as a matter of right (provided that you have grounds to do so), you only have a limited time to file with the appropriate Circuit Court of Appeals. Other stringent filing requirements apply as well, and early mistakes and oversights can potentially jeopardize your appeal.
5. Winning a Federal Appeal is Possible—But Not Easy
While winning a federal appeal is possible, it is not easy. Finding success on appeal requires in-depth knowledge of the substantive and procedural laws and rules that apply. At Oberheiden P.C., we have a proven track record of success, and our federal appeals lawyers rely on their collective experience to formulate and execute sound appellate strategies.
What To Expect from Us During Your Federal Appeal
What can you expect if you choose Oberheiden P.C. for your federal appeal? When you engage our firm to represent you:
1. We Will Examine All Possible Grounds for Appeal
Our federal appeals attorneys will examine all possible grounds to challenge your conviction or sentence (or both). Based on this examination, we will help you make an informed decision about whether to pursue an appeal.
2. We Will Timely Preserve Your Appellate Rights
If you decide to pursue an appeal, we will preserve your appellate rights—provided that you contact us in time. Under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure (Rule 4(b)), criminal appellants must file a “notice of appeal” within fourteen days of their trial judgment.
3. We Will Formulate a Cohesive Appellate Strategy
After examining the trial record in your case, our lawyers will formulate a cohesive appellate strategy. Our lawyers will clearly delineate the reasons why your conviction or sentence is unjust, and we will develop a clear roadmap for the appellate court to render a decision in your favor.
4. We Will Brief and Argue Your Case in the Circuit Court of Appeals
Winning on appeal requires persuasive written and oral advocacy. Our appellate lawyers will carefully craft a brief that presents your case to the Circuit Court of Appeals, and then we will skillfully argue your case at your appellate hearing.
5. We Will Petition the U.S. Supreme Court for Certiorari If Necessary
If the Circuit Court of Appeals affirms your conviction or sentence, we will help you decide whether to continue to pursue your appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court only hears a limited number of cases each year, and presenting an effective request (or petition for certiorari) requires intimate familiarity with the Supreme Court’s rules, procedures, and priorities.
FAQs: Filing a Federal Criminal Appeal
What Is the Difference Between a Notice of Appeal and a Federal Appeal?
A notice of appeal is a one to two-page filing that preserves your appellate rights after an unfavorable verdict or sentence. Filing a notice of appeal within 14 days is the first formal step in the federal appellate process. Once your lawyer files your notice of appeal, they will then begin work on the appeal itself. This is a much more time-intensive process that requires a comprehensive evaluation of the trial proceedings in your case in light of the applicable law.
How Do I Decide Whether to Appeal My Federal Criminal Conviction or Sentence?
To decide whether to appeal your federal conviction or sentence, you will need to have your case reviewed by an experienced federal appeals lawyer. At Oberheiden P.C., we provide complimentary initial consultations, and our lawyers can help you make an informed decision about whether to challenge the outcome of your federal criminal case.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Federal Criminal Appeal?
While you have the right to file your federal appeal pro se, this is not your best option. Due to the complexities and stakes involved (along with the fact that DOJ lawyers will be defending against your appeal), it is strongly in your best interests to engage an experienced federal appellate team to represent you.
Should I Hire My Trial Lawyer for My Federal Appeal?
Whether you should hire your trial lawyer for your federal appeal depends on several factors. Not all trial lawyers handle appeals; and, if your trial lawyer does not have experience at the federal level, you will most likely be better off with an experienced federal appeals lawyer on your side. Additionally, some grounds for challenging a conviction or sentence involve addressing mistakes your lawyer made during trial. If you need to raise these types of issues in your appeal, you will need to engage new appellate counsel.
How Often Are Federal Appeals Successful in Criminal Cases?
Overall, the rate of success in federal criminal appeals is relatively low—around nine percent. But, this should not influence your decision of whether to file an appeal in your case. Federal appeals succeed and fail for different reasons; and, ultimately, the facts of your case, the federal circuit in which you need to file, and your choice of legal representation are the main factors that will determine your likelihood of success on appeal.
Arrange a Complimentary Consultation with a Federal Appeals Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C.
If you need to speak with an experienced federal appellate lawyer about filing a criminal appeal, we encourage you to contact us promptly. To arrange a complimentary consultation at Oberheiden P.C., please call 888-680-1745 or get in touch with us online now.
Handling federal appeals cases nationwide, including:
New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Austin, Jacksonville, Mesa, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Columbus, Fort Worth, Charlotte, Seattle, Tucson, Denver, El Paso, Detroit, Washington, Boston, Memphis, Nashville, Portland, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Louisville, Tampa/Sarasota, Miami