Defendants in North Carolina who have been convicted of a crime have the right to appeal the verdict if they believe that there was an error made during the course of the trial that affected the verdict. While appealing can be a beneficial move for many defendants, it is not possible or warranted in all cases. Understanding how the appellate courts decide whether to grant or deny a defendant's appeal is an important part of the criminal defense process.
When the appellate court hears an appeal, it is deciding whether there is enough evidence that an error was made during the trial process that if not made would have resulted in a different verdict. In this case, the court may decide to reverse the conviction or send the case back for another sentencing hearing. This does not necessarily mean that the case is over, however. If a conviction is successfully appealed, the district attorney still has the option of pursuing a new trial.
On the other hand, if the appellate court does not find evidence of a prejudicial error, the appeal will be denied and the conviction or sentence will stand. It is important to note that any error in the proceedings must be found to be prejudicial. An error that was made but that did not affect the outcome of the case will not result in a granted appeal.
If you have questions about the appeals process in North Carolina, talking with a criminal law attorney can help clear up any worries and give you a better idea of what the process will entail.
Source: North Carolina Department of Justice, "Criminal Appeals Process" accessed Feb. 03, 2015