If you have been convicted of a DUI based on a judge’s or jury’s ruling after pleading not guilty, you have the ability to appeal your conviction if there was an error in your case. Although first-time DUI convictions in which no fatalities or serious injuries occur generally do not carry lengthy jail/prison sentences, the consequences of a DUI conviction can haunt you for years in the form of increased insurance rates, the loss of driving privileges, and the damage to your personal and professional reputation that a criminal record can bring, especially when the DUI is a felony.
Potential Grounds for Overturning Your DUI Conviction
When an appellate court hears your appeal from your DUI conviction, they will not be giving you a second trial but rather will want to hear your arguments for why you believe that your initial trial was unfair such that it justifies overturning your conviction.
Your DUI appeals attorney will examine the trial record and other sources looking for appealable grounds such as:
- Incorrect Evidentiary Rulings: Evidence may only be used against you if it was validly authenticated (proven to be what the prosecutor says it is) and the police used constitutional means to gather it. Your attorney may argue that the police stop was illegal, your car was illegally searched, the evidence used against you was faulty, and so on.
- Juror Misconduct: If jurors failed to follow the rules set down by the judge in the matter, such as by consulting outside sources, this may be grounds for reversal.
- Insufficiency of Evidence: An appeals court may invalidate your conviction based on the fact that no reasonable jury could have convicted based on the evidence presented.
- Improper Jury Selection: When prosecutors use racial or gender bias in selecting your jury, this can be grounds for reversal.
- Improper Jury Instructions: If the judge approved a confusing, misleading, or inaccurate set of instructions to the jury, this could call your conviction into question.
The Process for Appealing Your DUI Conviction
If you have reason to believe you were wrongly convicted of a DUI, it is important to act quickly in reaching out to an appeals attorney as some states limit the window to file the notice of an appeal to just 10 days.
After your attorney files the notice of appeal, he or she will look at the trial record to determine the best grounds for asking an appeals court to overturn the DUI conviction. Your attorney will then present these arguments in written form to the appeals court and will later present an oral argument to the appellate court, and the prosecution will have the chance to respond. If the appellate court finds your attorney’s arguments compelling, it may reverse your DUI conviction.
Help in Your Washington and California Appeal
The Law Office of Corey Evan Parker is focused on the civil and criminal appeals process in Washington and California. If you are considering filing a criminal or civil appeal, feel free to contact Mr. Parker today for a no obligation 30-minute consultation.