When you have been convicted of a DUI charge, you may feel like your options have run out and you have no choice but to quietly fulfill your sentence –even when you feel it is unfair. While this opinion is rather common, it is not accurate. In New Jersey, you have the right to appeal any case, including DUI trials. If you are considering appealing your case, please speak with a New Jersey DUI attorney immediately.
After your conviction, you only have 20 days to file an appeal to a higher court. These proceedings are held by a Superior Court judge. No new evidence is admitted in these trials. Your New Jersey DUI lawyer will instead work to show that you should not have been found guilty based on the evidence, or that the sentence is not in line with the actual criminal act committed. The judge cannot give you a stricter sentence than you have already received, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by filling an appeal.
If the judge upholds your conviction and you still believe you have received too harsh of a sentence or should not have been found guilty at all, you may further appeal your case to the Appellate Division within 45 days of the first appeal. This Division is headed by multiple judges who will discuss your case with one another and chose to uphold or change the original ruling. You are well-advised to only work with a top New Jersey DUI attorney at this level of proceedings.
The appeals process can be slow. Sometimes cases taken all the way to the Appellate Division may take years to work out. But appeals are an important part of the political process. Without appeals, there would be no checks to the powers of the courts. More importantly, problems in the judicial system would rarely be discovered and resolved in a timely manner. With the help of appeals, many innocent people have been released and many pieces of illegal evidence have been put aside and never again used in court. In fact, your original drunk driving defense in New Jersey was almost certainly based on successful past appeals to the judicial system. If you win your appeal, you may even set a precedent for any DUI convictions following yours.