The appeal process is lengthy. A notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the sentencing date. If applicable a Motion for New Trial should also be filed and a hearing requested. The first level of appeal is the the appellate court that is in your district. A transcript is requested and must be paid for in advance. Once the transcript is obtained the appellate lawyer will write a brief summarizing the issues and relevant case law for the appellate court to decide.
The next level of appeal is the the Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the Texas criminal supreme court. But the process is slightly different.
While your appeal is pending, you do not serve any of the terms of the sentence, but you must abide by the terms of your appellate bond.
It is very expensive to appeal a criminal trial. You must cover the cost of the transcript which can range from $1500.00 - $5000.00 or more, depending on the length of the trial and amount of testimony t hat must be transcribed. Then legal fees for a first level appeal can cost anywhere from $10K - 30K or more.
There is no set timeline for how long the process takes. The are deadlines for filing and for the reporter to prepare the transcript but the appellate court may take as long as it would like to decide the case.
There are several things that happen when you "win" an appeal. The case can be sent back down and dismissed, it can be sent back down for a new trial, it can be sent back down to conduct a harm analysis on the error and then decide whether or not to grant a new trial.
It is always better for another attorney to handle the appeal since one of the issues that the new attorney will be looking at is the trial attorney's work and whether it can be considered deficient or "ineffective."
There are several prominent attorneys that handle appeals. Brian Wice in Houston, Troy McKinney in Houston or go to the Texas Board of Legal Specialization website and find an attorney that specializes in criminal appeals. Of course, as with any specialty field be prepared to pay a lot of money for their expertise - but that's why they get great results.
You should contact a local attorney. There is a 30 day time limit to file the notice of appeal. You can do that yourself. The State Bar of Texas has a good lawyer referral program.
My answers are intended only as general legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for a full consultation with a local experienced criminal defense attorney. For more answers based on my 19 years of experience visit my website, www.austincriminaldefenseattorney.com
You should definitely hire an attorney who specializes in appeals, because appeals are very different than trial practice. You might consider hiring an appellate lawyer to review your case with you and your current attorney before firmly deciding to go forward with an appeal. Unless you have a realistic chance of a successful appeal, then what's the point of spending the time and money, since it will be very expensive.
Many of the questions you are asking should be asked in a one-on-one conference with an experienced criminal appellate attorney. I would be happy to speak with you by telephone for up to 30 minutes for no charge to answer some basic questions, such as the ones you are asking here. I have handled several criminal appointments from Comal County, both felonies and misdemeanor DWI, and I am board certified in criminal appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
P.O. Box 200613
Austin, Texas 78720-0613
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