ClickCease Key Biscayne Federal Appeals Attorney | (305) 814-1161
1,200+
Federal Cases Defended
Se Habla Español*Call 24x7

Key Biscayne Federal Appeals Attorney

Expert criminal defense lawyers specializing in federal appeals

If you have been found guilty of a federal crime in Key Biscayne, your fight for justice doesn’t have to end with a criminal conviction. When a federal trial court returns a guilty verdict, the next step is the sentencing phase. However, for convicted defendants who are looking to continue the fight for justice, a guilty verdict automatically triggers the right to file an appeal. The federal appellate process is long and can even be intimidating for some attorneys. Therefore, defendants who are looking to file a federal appeal should choose a tenacious, experienced Key Biscayne federal appeals lawyer who specializes in federal appeals. Joffe Law, P.A. represents those who seek to increase the odds of winning.

Federal appellate courts explained

The federal court system has two levels that consist solely of appellate courts. The first federal appellate level consists of circuit courts. Each circuit court corresponds to a geographical region in the U.S. Currently, there are 13 federal circuit courts. The second and highest federal appellate level is solely made up of the U.S. Supreme Court. State appellate court systems mostly mirror the federal system although the names of the courts within each level may vary from state to state.

When a convicted defendant wants to challenge a decision that was made in relation to a federal trial or conviction, the defendant may file an appeal with the respective federal circuit court. Florida is located in the 11th Circuit along with Georgia and Alabama. Convicted defendants in Key Biscayne who wish to appeal a federal trial court’s decision are required to file their appeal with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Filing a federal appeal in Key Biscayne

The first step in appealing a federal trial court’s decision is to file a Notice of Appeal. The notice must be filed within 14 days of the delivery of a guilty verdict. If the defendant, also known as the appellant, misses the 14-day deadline, the defendant may lose his or her opportunity to file the appeal. Once the circuit court receives the notice, the court will schedule the deadline by which the defendant and prosecution must file their respective appellate briefs. The appellate brief is arguably the most important part of an appeal. In most federal appellate cases, the court does not require the attorneys to make an appearance before the court. Instead, the appellate court decides the case based on each side’s appellate brief. Therefore, defendants may improve the likelihood of winning their appeal by choosing a Florida federal appeals lawyer who has a strong ability to write persuasively.

Sometimes the judges who preside over a federal appellate case may have questions about the attorneys’ arguments or the potential legal implications of the outcome of the case. In cases in which the appellate judges have questions, the court will schedule oral arguments, and each attorney will appear before the court to present his or her case. During appellate oral arguments, each attorney receives a limited allotment of time during which he or she may present his or her case. The court may interrupt the presenting attorney at any time to ask questions Q&A style. Oral arguments can be an intimidating experience. Therefore, it is not only important for a federal appeals lawyer to have excellent writing skills. The attorney must also present well and have the confidence to make oral arguments before federal appellate court judges.

Just Arrested in Key Biscayne?
Do not say anything that might incriminate you. Speak with an attorney first.

Appellate courts vs. trial courts

Appellate courts and trial courts differ significantly in form and function. Most people are familiar with how trial courts work. Each side makes opening and closing statements, introduces evidence, and may call witnesses. One judge presides over the process. At criminal trials, there is typically a jury present. The appellate process does not follow the same procedure, and fewer parties are present in the courtroom during the appellate process.

At the federal circuit court level, a panel of three judges decides appellate cases. The trial court defendant does not make an appearance in the courtroom during appellate proceedings. In most cases, the attorneys never make an appearance unless they are called in by the judges for oral arguments.

Trial courts go about the task of fact-finding. They determine which evidence should be introduced, and they hear the evidence. At the end of the proceedings, the court returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty. Unlike trial courts, appellate courts do not directly determine whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty. Appellate courts do not engage in fact-finding; instead, they rely on the facts found by the trial court. After filing an appeal, the defendant is responsible for providing the necessary transcripts from the trial court proceedings. Both the defendant and the prosecution work together to determine exactly what will become a part of the official trial court record the appellate court will review in deciding the appellate case.

Because appellate courts do not engage in fact-finding, they do not hear witness testimony, and neither side may introduce new evidence at the appellate stage. However, a defendant may argue that new evidence is available or that evidence that was not allowed to be introduced at trial should have been allowed into the trial court record. If the appellate court finds that the evidence is important to the defendant’s case, the appellate court will send the matter back to the trial court and order a new trial for the defendant to allow the evidence to be introduced.

Potential outcomes for a federal appeal

Appellate courts do not render a verdict. Instead, they have the authority to do any of the following:

  • affirm a decision that was made by the previous court
  • reverse a decision that was made by the previous court
  • remand the court proceedings back to the previous court

Affirming a decision means the lower-ranking court’s decision remains. When the appellate court reverses the previous court’s decision, the defendant’s conviction may be automatically overturned, and the case may end there. However, if the appellate court reverses and remands the proceedings, the previous court’s decision will be overturned, and the appellate court will order a new trial for the defendant and send instructions to the trial court on how to correct the legal error in the new trial. Ultimately, the outcome of a reversal depends on the issue the defense attorney challenges and the effect the issue had on the original trial. Results may vary from case to case.



Related: Specific case types our lawyers can appeal

Key Biscayne Sex crimes defense lawyer
Child pornography attorney
White collar crimes lawyer
Drug trafficking defense attorneys



Issues defendants may appeal

Appellate courts were designed to review legal errors a trial court may have made in a case. Simply not liking the fact that a trial court found you guilty is generally not an appealable issue. However, if your attorney can find a legal error in your case, your appeal will be more likely to be decided in your favor. Some common issues attorneys raise in a federal criminal court appeal are:

  • erroneous jury instructions
  • problems with evidence
  • problems with the investigation
  • excessive sentence

A qualified legal professional can determine the strongest issues in your case that may be a solid basis for a federal appeal. David Joffe has more than 35 years of experience representing federal court defendants in appellate cases.

ERRONEOUS JURY INSTRUCTIONS

During jury trials, the judge gives the jury instructions to help the jury understand how to apply the applicable laws in the case. Because juries are made up of everyday people, most jurors are unlikely to have the legal knowledge and experience to fully complex legal matters. Therefore, jurors rely heavily on the court’s instructions in reaching a verdict. Any error in the jury instructions may directly impact the outcome of the defendant’s case. Some other common jury errors that are issues in Key Biscayne federal appeals are:

  • jury selection errors
  • jury bias
  • jury tampering

The average criminal defendant may not be able to identify an issue with the jury in his or her case. Having a seasoned defense attorney by your side can help you avoid the potential damage jury errors can cause to your case. However, if you did not have effective counsel and a jury error may have led to a wrongful conviction, you can still hire a defense attorney to review your case and challenge jury errors on appeal.

INVESTIGATIVE ISSUES AS A GROUND FOR A FEDERAL APPEAL

Problems with a criminal case can start long before the trial date is set. When interviewing people of interest, making arrests, and gathering evidence, law enforcement agencies are required to follow federal laws found in the Constitution and federal case law. When taking someone into police custody, the police must inform the individual of a set of rights that is known as the Miranda rights. The Miranda rights include the defendant’s right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination and the defendant’s right to an attorney without regard to the defendant’s economic status. Law enforcement agents are also not permitted to use force and other illegal means to induce someone into confessing to a crime.

When searching for evidence, law enforcement agents are required to obtain consent to search the property or obtain a search warrant. After obtaining the search warrant, the police can only search areas that are specified within the limits of the search warrant. When conducting a traffic stop, the police must have a legally valid reason for making the stop. If the police search the vehicle during a traffic stop, the law requires the officer to have either obtained permission to conduct the search or to have made a legally valid observation that reasonably led to the search.

EVIDENTIARY PROBLEMS AT TRIAL

Attorneys must follow a specific set of rules when introducing evidence that may be used against the defendant during a criminal trial. Some common reasons Key Biscayne defense lawyers challenge the admissibility of evidence are:

  • the evidence is hearsay and not a first-hand statement
  • the evidence is irrelevant to the subject of the trial
  • the evidence violates the defendant’s constitutional rights
  • the evidence is misleading

When filing a federal appeal, you need a Key Biscayne defense attorney who thoroughly understands the rules of evidence. The criminal justice system is not perfect. There are times when a defendant may be wrongfully convicted based on inadmissible evidence. When trial courts make errors in admitting evidence that should be left out or suppressing evidence that would benefit the defendant, a Florida federal defense lawyer can file an appeal based on the evidentiary error.

APPEALING A FEDERAL SENTENCE IN KEY BISCAYNE

The Eighth Amendment prohibits courts from imposing sentencing in criminal cases that is excessive in comparison to the crime for which the defendant has been convicted. Many aspects of Florida’s mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines have come under scrutiny. For example, Florida’s 10-20-Life rule, which imposed mandatory minimum sentencing in cases that involve the use of a firearm, was overturned in 2016. Certain federal offenses also have mandatory minimum sentences. Critics argue that mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines deprive judges of the ability to evaluate factors in each case that may call for a different approach to sentencing.

Even in cases in which mandatory minimum sentencing does not apply, there may be a reason to appeal a federal sentence that is otherwise excessive. Cases in which Florida defense lawyers commonly challenge sentencing involve:

  • a defendant who was a minor at the time of the offense
  • a defendant who was legally insane at the time of the offense
  • a sentence that is unconstitutional
  • a sentence that is unreasonable
  • a capital sentence
  • a sentencing error

The Constitution aims to protect convicted defendants from being punished excessively even if they are guilty as charged. Joffe Law advocates for fair sentencing. Contact our Key Biscayne federal appeals lawyer if you believe you or your loved one may have been sentenced erroneously or excessively.

Other options for post-conviction relief

Sometimes the option to file a direct appeal may not be available because too much time has passed, or there may be other more appropriate options. Even if you have filed a federal appeal in Key Biscayne and the court ruled against you, there may still be options available. We are available to advise convicted defendants regarding other types of post-conviction relief. Speak to a member of our team to learn more about options that may be available to you or someone you know.

Contacting a lawyer for federal appeals in Key Biscayne

David Joffe is a federal crime defense lawyer in Key Biscayne who offers legal defense services at every stage in the criminal court process, including post-conviction. If you want to know more about how we can continue the fight for justice, contact us to receive a case evaluation.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.

AVAILABLE 24x7
Serious federal cases only.