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Types of Appeals in Bucks County
In Bucks County, like all other counties, any case that is heard at the trial level has the right to an appeal for a variety of different reasons, below a Bucks County criminal lawyer discusses these various types of appeals and what must be proven in order for the appeal to be successful. For more information on your appeal, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
Appealing a Guilty Plea
Before a guilty plea can be appealed, it is extremely important that a person overcome the guilty plea colloquy, which explains the reasons why the person entered the guilty plea in the first place. Before a person can plead guilty in Pennsylvania to any charge in any county, a person will be asked questions by his or her attorney, the government attorney or prosecutor, and specifically the judge. Then the judge, after listening to the accused answer such questions, will ask whether the accused is knowingly, intentionally, and voluntarily entering a guilty plea.
Should the person answer “yes” and the judge accepts this answer, then it’s extremely difficult to appeal any later decision under any grounds other than the person would have otherwise been found not guilty of all charges and the burden is now on the accuser to prove that the accused otherwise would have been found not guilty, which is an extremely high burden.
Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA)
Another type of appeal that can be used is in the form of what is called a PCRA. That is the argument that their lawyer failed to do something and was ineffective in handling the case. Under those circumstances, there is no time limit. An individual can file a PCRA at any time and is not barred by the 30-day rule.
Other Types of Appeals
Other grounds for appeal often involve motions and other pretrial matters that may or may not have been ruled in favor of the defendant. In those cases but for evidence that was unlawfully allowed into the case, an individual can argue through their attorney that they would not have been convicted of a crime—for instance, if the drugs in their case were disallowed because of improper search and seizure issues. Under those circumstances, appeals can be taken directly to the superior court, if they’re filed in a timely fashion.
Additionally, if the argument is the insufficiency of evidence against the person convicted or a specific legal argument—for instance, the judge allowed the jury to hear about the defendant’s prior record—then a person must file such an appeal with a brief within 30 days of the conviction or sentence.
The Commonwealth also has a pretrial right to appeal in what we call an interlocutory appeal. Should something bar them from proceeding because of the ruling by a lower court judge, they can immediately take an appeal to the superior court because but for that evidence, they would not be able to proceed in their case. Again, an accused would have a right to prepare a legal document to affirm or defend their position. With the use of an experienced Pennsylvania criminal appellate attorney on your side, the chances of winning at the ultimate trial level, which will follow the interlocutory appeal, are greatly increased.