The Role of a Criminal Appeal Lawyer: How They Advocate for Their Clients

Civil liberties
Tami Kollar | 31 October 2023

As fair as the Canadian justice system is, mistakes happen, which is why the appeals court exists. If you feel you’ve been wrongly convicted, you have the right to appeal your conviction if an error has been made.

However, unlike in the Crown case against you, in a criminal appeals procedure, the burden lies on you to prove your case. Hiring an attorney could raise your chances of overturning your conviction or sentence.

Here we’ll outline the massive role criminal appeal lawyers play in advocating for their clients in court, and why they can be so important. Read on to find out more.

7 Ways a Criminal Appeal Lawyer Advocates for Their Clients

While their legal knowledge may be the most obvious benefit of an appeal lawyer, there are many other ways they can help your case. Here are seven ways a criminal appeal lawyer can advocate for their clients.

1. They Provide Legal Expertise

An experienced criminal appeal lawyer will help you navigate the intricate maze of the appeals process, helping you understand its rules and regulations, which are different than in a regular criminal trial.

Attorneys specializing in criminal appeal law spend years studying and gathering knowledge about the procedure. It enables them to identify errors, violations of human rights, and procedural mistakes. These can help you prove your appeals case and get your conviction overturned, or changed.

2. They Can Look at Your Case from a Different Perspective

Whether you had an attorney or legal aid representing you at your criminal trial, a criminal appeal lawyer can provide a new set of eyes for examining your case from a different perspective. Appeal lawyers review all the evidence, often noticing overlooked details that could have a positive impact on your appeals case.

3. They Can Employ a More Effective Legal Strategy

By using their expertise, a criminal lawyer will find mistakes and grounds for appeal that you and your previous representative may have overlooked. Based on this, they can devise a compelling legal strategy, picking apart the original case and the reasons for conviction.

In many cases, this can make a world of difference between overturning your criminal conviction and having to serve the full sentence. And even if they can’t overturn the conviction, they can still appeal for reducing your sentence.

effective legal strategy

4. They Possess Exceptional Procedural Mastery

Those convicted of a crime in Canada have 30 days to appeal their conviction and sentence from the imposition of the latter. While you can do the first step of drafting and sending a Notice of Appeal to the courts and the prosecution, there are other actions you need to take in a timely manner.

Extensions are rarely granted in criminal cases, so having a legal representative who can help start the process is crucial. Not only do criminal appeal lawyers see to it that you follow the procedures and requirements in the appeals process, but they’ll also ensure there aren’t any delays and that your case is allowed to proceed.

Not following the criminal appeals procedure properly can lead to the case’s dismissal before it even gets started.

5. They Have Access to Resources

A criminal appeal attorney with several years of experience under their belt will have connections and access to a broad range of legal resources, which you may or may not have been provided access to during your original criminal trial.

More importantly, they know how to utilize and make these resources available to you to support your defence. Whether it’s helping you challenge witness credibility, uncovering new evidence, identifying potential errors made during your trial case, or more, these resources can be extremely useful in the case of an appeal.

6. They Take a Load Off the Client’s Shoulders

Unlike criminal trials, which can span over several weeks, appeals hearings only last a day. Consequently, it must be preceded by a meticulous and intense preparatory period. Even if your case is simple, if you feel you were wrongly convicted, you’ll need to work hard to prove your case.

Remember, the burden of proving your case is on your shoulders, unlike in your trial when you were considered innocent. This means you need to be analyzing all the evidence and the transcripts of your original trial, coming up with a complex factum of legal arguments, and more. Having an appeal lawyer’s help will make everything easier for you.

7. They Provide Emotional Support

Criminal trials can be emotionally draining, and if you’re facing a devastating conviction, this can put you in an extremely vulnerable state. To raise your chances of winning your appeal and focus on proving your case, a criminal appeal lawyer will provide the emotional support you need in these stressful times. They’ll answer any inquiries from clients and guide them through the strains of the legal system.

provide emotional support

Final Thoughts

The appeal procedure can be complex and overwhelming. An experienced criminal appeal lawyer can provide their expertise and procedural mastery, along with looking at your case from a fresh perspective.

They will also give you access to both legal resources and emotional support if necessary, and take some of the burden of proving your case off your shoulders. If you’re looking for a criminal appeal lawyer to advocate for you, then contact AGP LLP today and we’ll be more than happy to help.