Everyone should have effective counsel when going up against criminal charges in court. Unfortunately, some people end up with a conviction because a defense attorney committed mistakes that contributed to the outcome. Additionally, sometimes a trial judge misapplies the law. However, you might be able to appeal your conviction to a higher court and reverse it.
It is possible a judge will uphold the lower court ruling. Still, in the event your appeal is a success, the American Bar Association describes possible outcomes that would follow.
The lower court must change its judgment
Your appeal does not result in a complete overturn of your previous trial. However, the appeals judge mandates that the lower court modify its initial judgment or correct it to fit the findings of your appeal. This may be a desirable outcome if it substantially minimizes or eliminates your criminal penalties.
The lower court must reconsider the case
The higher court may order that the lower court take certain actions that may lead to a new outcome. These include a new consideration of the facts or admittance of evidence that was not present in the initial trial. The decision by the appeals court may also shed light on a law involved in the lower court ruling, which could also lead to overturning your conviction.
The lower court must hold a new trial
The findings of the higher court may find your initial trial flawed enough that it orders the lower court to hold a new trial. This means you will go through a criminal trial all over again, though you may have a more effective defense and can admit previously denied evidence into the proceedings.
A successful appeal does not guarantee that you will avoid criminal penalties if a lower court reconsiders your case or retries you. However, it could still lead to a better outcome and correct an injustice from an earlier trial.