When Should I Appeal an Illinois Criminal Conviction?

Richard J. Dvorak

Answered by:
Richard J. Dvorak

Located in Willowbrook, IL
Dvorak Law Offices, LLC

Richard J. Dvorak - Criminal Defense - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Richard J. Dvorak

Dvorak Law Offices, LLC
Willowbrook, IL
Phone: 312-762-5217
Fax: 312-873-3869

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The short answer is virtually always. Except in rare circumstances, you will not receive a stiffer sentence and the worst that can happen is to have your appeal or post-conviction petition rejected.

Avoid Lengthy Delays

Why speak with a private attorney rather than the State Appellate Defender’s Office? The state agency has a serious backlog of cases. It can take two years or longer to wait on an appeal. We can obtain a decision in a timelier manner and devote more attention to your case.  In addition, our law firm handles direct appeals, post-conviction petitions, habeas-corpus petitions, and civil-rights lawsuits.  By contrast, the State Appellate Defender's Office will only handle your direct appeal (see below for a description of the differences between these legal methods for attacking a conviction and getting compensation for being wrongfully prosecuted).  

While some things can be completed over the phone, when you need to discuss something as sensitive as a criminal appeal an in-person meeting is important. Unlike most other private criminal appellate attorneys, we will come to meet with you in person even if you are at a facility on the other side of the state.

Types of Appeals

A Notice of Appeal for a direct appeal must be filed within 30 days. This allows you to file briefs with the appellate court addressing any mistakes made by the trial court, your attorney or the prosecutor. If an appeal is successful, your conviction could be reversed or your case might be sent back to the trial court.

In addition to a direct appeal, there are two other forms of relief that may offer relief after a conviction.

The first is a post-conviction petition. This allows you to bring up issues that were not addressed on direct appeal. These might include:

  • Ineffective assistance of counsel – the trial attorney failed to call witnesses or made other errors
  • New evidence can also be submitted – for example, something that indicates police misconduct occurred or new DNA evidence that shows innocence. 

Another potential option is Habeas Corpus. In a state criminal case, this allows you to request that the federal district court review the same issues. In a federal criminal case – possibly white collar crime allegations related to embezzlement, public corruption or fraud – this operates like post-conviction petitions at the state level. You can raise new issues or evidence not addressed at trial or on direct appeal.

Appeal options always exist, but skill is required to identify issues and develop the strongest possible arguments for a successful appeal. And we not only handle criminal appeals. We will also defend you in a subsequent hearing or trial if the case is returned to a state or federal trial court, and, if successful, we also handle civil-rights matters to get you the compensation you deserve for any wrongful conviction you may have suffered.

Our synergistic practice will allow you to use one lawyer for all aspects of your criminal appeal.  

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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