Filing an Appeal in Arizona

DUI felony in Arizona - gold-plated nib in a fountain pen

Filing an Appeal in Arizona

In previous posts we’ve briefly touched on the Arizona court system and, depending on their nature, examined how cases are handled. If a defendant feels that justice was not served in the conviction of a DUI felony in Arizona, or any other crime, they can take their argument to an appeals court. There are two courts of appeals in Arizona, the intermediate appellate court and the Arizona Supreme Court, or court of last resort. At Coolidge Law Firm, when we handle a case we will do everything we can to have it settled in a fair manner. But in some instances, appealing to a higher court for justice might be necessary.

The Appeals Process

If you’ve been convicted of a criminal charge such as a DUI felony in Arizona and you wish to appeal, you must first file a criminal notice of appeal with the superior court clerk. That filing must occur no later than 20 days after the sentencing. After filing, it may take up to 90 days for the court to decide on your appeal. This decision is made by a 3-judge panel who will scour the case transcripts for any error in the application of the law. If the appeals court finds an error that contributed to the trial court’s decision, they will reverse that decision.

Trial Court vs. Appeals Court

When a criminal case goes to trial, both the defense and prosecution present their cases— including facts, evidence, testimony, etc. A judge presides over the case, making any rulings on motions or objections raised by the attorneys, as well as keeping order in the court. And a jury hears the case and rules on the facts presented, culminating in a final decision that finds the defendant guilty or not guilty.

Most decisions made in trial court on the state or federal level are subject to review by an appeals court. This hearing is different, in that a panel of judges reviews the evidence already presented in trial court and either accepts the trial court’s decision based on the evidence presented, or discovers factual findings to be against the weight of evidence: in which case they would overturn the trial court decision.

The party who loses an appeals case can then submit a request for the state supreme court to review the ruling. However, hearings by the state supreme court are discretionary, meaning the court is under no obligation to review a case.  

The Best Defense

Todd Coolidge of Coolidge Law Firm knows that facing a DUI felony in Arizona, or any other criminal charge, can be a frightening time. Fortunately, in our great country, you have the right to the best defense possible. So if you find yourself in legal trouble, call Todd Coolidge, a criminal law specialist. He has the experience and knowledge to handle your case!


Photo by Art Lasovsky on Unsplash (9/21/2018)