Appeals in Utah: Fighting for Your Rights After a Conviction

In some cases, a defendant can be convicted based on a mistake by the court. Even an innocent person may be convicted due to alack of evidence at the time of trial. In these instances, there is a process to appeal the decision by the court. The experienced lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw, & Moffat have decades of experience bringing justice to individuals through the appeal process.

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a legal process for contesting a criminal conviction. In an appeal, one court will review the decision made by another court or agency. In some cases, the reviewing court will order a completely new trial. In others, the court will determine if a mistake made by the other court changed the outcome of the trial.

Who can appeal?

A decision can only be appealed by a party in the original case. In Utah, a person may legally represent themselves, or they may choose to be represented by a lawyer who is licensed to practice in Utah.

The Appeals Process

If you were tried and convicted in a justice court, your appeal would be considered by a district court. Utah law (Rule 38) requires that appeals are made to a district court that is located in the same county as the justice court where the case was tried. The district court will conduct a new trial and provide a second ruling.

If the district court makes a mistake during the appeal, you may then file an appeal with the Utah Supreme Court or Court of Appeals. Keep in mind, this appeal does not start a new trial. At this level, the appeal to the Utah Supreme Court is only to determine if the district court made a mistake, and most importantly, if that mistake would have made a difference in the outcome. The Utah courts website has a thorough doument detailing the procedure required to submit an appeal to the Utah Supreme Court.

Additionally, you may also request a stay of sentencing (including fines and jail time) while you wait for the final verdict in district court.

Results from Appeals

Appeals can often lead to changes to the law. Many cases defended by lawyers at Brown, Bradshaw, & Moffat have been important in clarifying criminal law. For example, Gutierrez v. Medley defined the limitations of the state’s ability to subpoena (force) witnesses to testify,

and State v. Vigil redefined what is required under Utah law to convict a person for "attempted" murder. You can read more about real cases and outcomes on our Criminal Appeals page.

Finding an Experienced Appeals Lawyer in Utah

If you were wrongfully convicted in a courthouse in Utah or need representation to appeal a capital, felony, or misdemeanor conviction or juvenile delinquency adjudication, the experienced criminal appellate attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw, & Moffat are ready to help. We know the ins and outs of the appeals process in Utah, and we will fight to defend your rights.

Call (801) 532-5297 today for a free consultation to discuss your case.


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