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Criminal Appeals

Being found guilty of a crime can cause you to believe that all hope is lost, your record is permanently stained, and that you are in fact a criminal.  In Alaska, most people found guilty of a crime have the ability to appeal the verdict.

In many cases, the trial court’s errors caused prejudice to the defendant.  The trial court often makes legal mistakes by allowing the jury to consider inadmissible evidence, not giving the jury instructions that are favorable to the defendant, and allowing the prosecutor to violate the rules of procedure and evidence.

An appeal can be viewed as having four main stages: (1) preparation of the appellate record; (2) brief writing; (3) oral argument; and (4) appellate decision.  Although the appeals process is not a fast process, it may be your best chance to clearing your good name.  You want a team that is experienced in representing clients appealing their cases.  Call us today, and let the team at the Law Office of Bradly A. Carlson, L.L.C. help you.

Preparation of the Record

After an appeal is initiated, the first few months are spent preparing what is called the “record on appeal.” The “record” is composed of transcripts of what happened in court, and copies of the legal papers that were filed in the trial court. The transcripts are called the verbatim report of proceedings, and they consist of transcripts of literally every word that was spoken while court was in session.

The party who is appealing, called the “appellant,” makes the initial decision as to what transcripts to order. It is not necessary to order a transcript of every single court hearing. For example, unless the appellant plans on raising some issue regarding some action which was taken at the arraignment hearing, there is no reason to order a transcript of it. Similarly, usually one does not need to order a transcript of the jury selection process which occurs at the outset of the trial. On the other hand, generally one does have to order a complete transcript of every single day of the trial. After the appellant orders those transcripts which he believes are necessary for appellate court review, the prosecution has an opportunity to order additional transcripts if it believes they are necessary.

Writing the Appellate Brief

We write and file your opening brief with the Court of Appeals. That brief contains a statement of the issues which the appellant is raising, a statement of the facts of the case, and legal argument. Once the prosecution writes and files its brief, the appellant has the option of filing a reply brief that responds to the prosecutor’s arguments.

The brief writing process requires us to summarize and synthesize your case into a written brief that may not exceed 25 pages for misdemeanors and 50 pages for felonies.

Oral Argument

After the appellate judges read the briefs, an oral argument is scheduled. We appear before a panel of three appellate judges. The arguments are open to the public. The appellate judges generally will ask questions of the appellate attorneys, but not all judges will do this, and frequently one of the three judges will take a leading role in questioning the attorneys.

The Decision

The Court of Appeals does not rule immediately, but it will instead take the case under advisement and will issue a written decision at a later date.

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Other Criminal Defense areas we specialize in

Drug and Alcohol Crimes

The relationship between drugs, alcohol, and crime is complex. Most directly, it is a crime to buy, use, possess, manufacture, or distribute illegal drugs. Drugs and alcohol also impact crime indirectly via the effects they have on users’ behavior and by their association with violence and other illegal activity.

Drunk Driving (DUI)

A Driving Under the Influence, or Operating Under the Influence, charge (“DUI”) is serious business that can change your life. Police, prosecutors, and the courts treat DUI charges very seriously. A DUI charge can easily turn into a conviction without proper legal representation.

Post-Conviction Relief (PCR)

Once your appellate rights are exhausted, there is yet another way to challenge your conviction. The next step is post-conviction relief or PCR where you may raise new claims that were not available to you on direct appeal. Requiring experience on both sides — as both prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Alaska.

Probation

Probation gives you freedom to live your life outside of jail. You can, however, be forced to serve the original sentence if you violate the conditions of your probation. You need an experienced team on your side to assist you at your probation violation hearing.

Property Crimes

Some of the “minor” property crimes may not carry severe penalties in court but have lasting effects on your record. Not many employers would be interested in hiring individuals with any type of property offense on their record. These cases must be defended aggressively as possible, and our team is here to help.

Sex Crime

Being charged with a sex crime is terrifying. The confusion, anxiety, and social stigma can be a difficult burden to carry alone. What started as a nice evening and ended in what you thought was consensual sex, could turn into a lengthy jail sentence and lifelong sex offender registration. Our team is here to help.

Weapons Offenses

In Alaska, weapons charges include unlawful possession, unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon, unlawful discharge of a firearm, illegal sale or trafficking, or misconduct involving weapons. Alaska punishes these offenses harshly, which can damage your reputation and negatively affect your Constitutional rights. 

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