The criminal justice system we have in the United States seems to insist upon itself. We have a robust system of private prisons. We create laws and penalties that punish people severely for relatively minor crimes. The prisons get their prisoners, lawmakers and law enforcement feel they are doing the right thing, and society feels safe because the system is “working as intended.”
As part of this idea that things are “working as intended,” many people are conditioned to believe that harsh punishments are necessary and that people who are accused or convicted of a crime are unlikely to “win.” A funny concept, really, when you consider everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
We say all of this because criminal appeals are not a topic that gets discussed often, even though these legal options are perfectly viable choices for people who are accused of a crime or have paid their debt to society.
Whether you were charged with a state crime or a federal crime, there is an appeals process that you can follow in the wake of a conviction. Remember that you must act swiftly in order to do this, though. For people who have already served their sentence and want to clear their record so that their criminal offense doesn’t haunt them for years on end, there is the possibility that an expungement could seal your charge.
If you embark down either of these paths, it is imperative to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to ensure you are going about the process correctly.