When a defendant goes through a criminal trial, and the judge gives a guilty verdict, some people may think that the next step is to go through the appeal process. However, this is not usually the case.

Losing parties must have a specific reason for asking for appeals, and just not liking the verdict is not a valid justification.

Proper grounds for an appeal

According to FindLaw, there must be a basis to request an appeal, and a harmless error is not sufficient. One of the grounds for appeal is if the court made a plain error, meaning that the court’s actions or decisions affected the substantial rights of the defendant. Another justification for an appeal is the insufficient weight of evidence.

The defendant may request an appeal if the judge’s ruling was unreasonable and an abuse of discretion. The ineffectiveness of counsel to the point that it prevented a fair trial may also justify an appeal.

Basic appeal process

According to the American Bar Association, an appeal is not a new trial or even a retrial that examines new evidence or hears new witnesses. To institute an appeal, the appellant must file a notice of appeal and then file a written argument defining the reasons for requesting the appeal. The respondent must then respond with an answering brief.

The appeals courts may only consider the written briefs submitted by each side, or they may request oral arguments. The courts may uphold the original verdict or reverse it. If reversed, it may order the lower court to consider additional evidence, modify judgment or hold a new trial.