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Surprise! Appealing the Unexpected Sentence

Your criminal case has already gone to trial, you’ve been convicted and sentenced, and you’re now in shock over a sentence that was nothing like what your attorney told you to expect. Here’s another surprise for you – you may be entitled to appeal your sentence.

While it is common knowledge that a man or woman found guilty can appeal his or her conviction, some are startled to find out that the sentence imposed by the court can also give rise to an appeal. An appeal from your conviction asks a higher court to review the lower court’s mistakes of law made during the trial. Likewise, an appeal of the sentence can be grounded on a variety of legal issues:

  • Prior to being sentenced, were you given an opportunity to speak to the court on your own behalf?
  • If the victim-impact statement sets out new material facts at sentencing, were you given an opportunity to respond to them?
  • Were some criminal charges dismissed by the prosecutor but the judge improperly gave you the maximum sentence based on the dismissed charge or charges?
  • Were you present not only at the sentencing hearing but at all subsequent hearings concerning any changes to your sentence?
  • Did the sentencing judge make a full and complete record of the reasons for imposing maximum or consecutive sentences on you?
  • Was your sentence consistent with sentences imposed for similar crimes committed by similar offenders?
  • Does your sentence violate any plea bargain made with the prosecutor and the court?
  • Is your sentence in fact illegal (meaning you were sentenced to more than the period permitted by law) or does it otherwise violate your constitutional rights?

These and many other issues may be the basis for an appeal from your sentence.

Strict time limits for appeal procedures

There are strict time limits for appealing your sentence, so don’t delay or you’ll lose your chance to appeal. Once you’ve filed the notice of appeal, that’s not the end of the matter. There are also specific time limits for filing the actual appeal itself and for responding to the prosecution’s inevitable opposition to your appeal. Don’t leave your defense to chance. Without the assistance of  knowledgeable appellate counsel you could be at a terrible disadvantage in the Ohio criminal court system.

The Ohio criminal law firm of Yavitch & Palmer, Co., LPA has over a decade of experience handling criminal appeals. Our firm of highly respected and skilled criminal law professionals is available to answer your questions about the feasibility of an appeal, explain all the possible grounds for an appeal, and pursue your appeal in the Ohio state court or the federal court system.

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