When you or a loved one has been wronged by a legal decision, you may have a right to an appeal. An appeal can be from a decision of an government agency. It can be from a decision in court. There can also be an appeal of an appeal. For some appeals, the case automatically starts all over again. The parties have to call their witnesses and move exhibits into evidence just as they did at the first hearing. New evidence that was not offered during the first hearing or trial can be presented. This type of appeal is known as a de novo appeal. For example, if you have been convicted of a crime in the Maryland District Court, you likely have the right to appeal that outcome to the Circuit Court. Once in the Circuit Court, the defendant is entitled to a brand new trial, and might even be entitled to additional procedural rights – such as a jury trial -- that were not available in the District Court.
Many appeals must be made “on the record.” This means that the appellate court reviews the record of what happened in the previous trial or hearing. Usually, the parties are prohibited from presenting new evidence that was not offered or permitted in the previous hearing. The appellate court will only reverse the previous ruling if it determines that mistakes were made that materially affected the outcome of the previous trial or hearing.
We have successfully secured better outcomes for our clients through the appellate process. We have helped people keep their driving privileges, and have fought to prevent restaurants from losing their ability to serve alcohol to customers. Serious felony convictions have been reversed and sentences reduced because of appeals filed and pursued by our lawyers. Some appellate decisions made significant changes in the law and have been published by the Courts to provide guidance to judges and lawyers in future cases.
If you are not happy with the outcome of your case, it may be important to contact a lawyer quickly. Many appeals must be filed within 30 days of the decision a party wishes to challenge. For a free phone or office consultation, please call us at 301-251-9001.