Practice Areas

Federal Criminal Appeals

Atlanta Federal Criminal Appeals Attorneys

What is the Federal Criminal Appeals Process?

Understanding the federal criminal appeals process can seem overwhelming, with all its legal complexities. If you or someone close to you is thinking about filing an appeal, it’s essential to get a clear picture of how this process unfolds. This involves knowing your rights, the steps to file an appeal, and what to expect during the review. Additionally it’s crucial to be aware of the timelines and strict procedural rules that govern the appeals process to ensure your case is heard.

How Does the Appeals Process Work?

The appeals process begins after conviction in a federal court, offering a pathway to challenge the decision. Unlike a trial court that examines the facts of a case, an appellate court reviews the trial record to ensure that no legal errors affected the outcome. Appeals are decided by panels of three judges who assess written arguments (briefs) and, in some cases, hear oral arguments from both sides. The goal of the appellate court is not to re-try the case but to ensure that the trial was conducted fairly and according to the correct legal procedures.

What Are the Different Verdicts of an Appeal?

The appellate court has several options when deciding an appeal. It may affirm the trial court’s verdict if no significant legal errors are found, essentially upholding the original decision. Alternatively, it could reverse the verdict, which could lead to an acquittal or a new trial depending on the nature of the error(s) identified. In some cases, the court may remand the case, sending it back to the lower court for actions consistent with the appellate court’s findings, which might include conducting a new trial or re-sentencing.

What Are the Grounds for Filing an Appeal?

Was the trial conducted fairly?

An appeal must be based on grounds that there were legal errors during the trial that impacted its outcome. These can include incorrect jury instructions, improper admission or exclusion of evidence, errors in the judge’s application of the law, or even prosecutorial misconduct. It’s not about re-examining the facts; it is about ensuring the trial was conducted fairly and according to proper legal standards.

Who Can File for a Federal Criminal Appeal?

Any defendant convicted in a federal court has the right to file an appeal. However, it’s important to act quickly as there are strict deadlines for filing notice of an appeal, generally within 14 days after the judgment or order. Missing this deadline can forfeit the right to appeal, emphasizing the importance of prompt action and the consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.

The Seven Phases of a Federal Criminal Case

Understanding how a federal criminal case unfolds can help you see where the appeals process comes in. There are seven key stages:

  • investigating;
  • charging;
  • Initial hearing/arraignment;
  • discovery;
  • motions hearing(s);
  • trial;
  • and sentencing;

The appeal happens after sentencing and is crucial for challenging the trial’s fairness and legality. Every stage is a critical piece of the legal puzzle, influencing the case’s result and the chances of a successful appeal. Understanding these phases in detail can empower you or your loved one to navigate the system more effectively, potentially leading to better outcomes.

How Long Does the Appeal Process Take?

The duration of the appeals process can vary widely, often about a year or more. The timeline depends on the complexity of the case, the court’s caseload, and the thoroughness of the review required. Patience is key, as ensuring a fair and just examination of the appeal is paramount. During this time, appellants should stay in close communication with their legal representatives to stay informed of any developments or decisions.

Can the Appeals Decision Be Further Challenged?

Yes, if the appeals court’s decision is unfavorable, further options exist. The next step could involve seeking a review by the appellate court instead of just the panel or petitioning the United States Supreme Court. However, it’s worth noting that the Supreme Court hears a very limited number of cases, focusing on those of significant legal precedent. The stage requires careful consideration and consultation with experienced legal counsel to evaluate the viability and potential success of pursuing such an appeal.

Facing the daunting prospect of navigating the federal criminal appeals process is a challenge no one should have to face alone. Professional guidance can make all the difference in achieving a favorable outcome. At Arora Law, our experienced team is here to provide the support and expertise you need every step of the way. With a comprehensive understanding of the appeals process and a commitment to advocating for our client’s rights, we strive to ensure justice is served. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you through this complex process. 

Our Practice Areas

Drug Offenses

As soon as you are arrested or discover you are under investigation, the clock is ticking. To ensure the best possible outcome in your drug case, you need to act quickly and hire a criminal defense firm that is experienced, knowledgeable and able to protect your rights during even the toughest litigation.



When you decide to launch an appeal, every moment is critical. Criminal statutes have strict time limits on appeals, so you need to act quickly and hire an appellate attorney who is experienced, knowledgeable and willing to efficiently and effectively review the entire court order of your case.

Criminal Defense

At Arora Law, we handle all criminal law cases that include DUI charges, drug charges — from small-quantity possession to large-quantity manufacturing — and white collar crimes such as fraud and forgery.

DUI Defense

A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) becomes part of a permanent criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life. At Arora Law, we understand that serious offenses such as DUI call for serious litigation.


When someone is arrested in Georgia the impact could remain long after the case is closed. If a case is not closed out properly, it could lead to issues with employment, housing, financial loans, educational tuition and the like.

White Collar Crime

At Arora Law, our attorneys have the experience and legal expertise in protecting clients’ rights and reputations when they’ve been charged with white-collar offenses. As former prosecutors, we anticipate how the prosecution will build its case, enabling us to build a strong defense against harsh penalties.

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