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What happens if I lose my criminal trial?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Criminal Law

Most people facing criminal charges in New York will quickly plead guilty just because they don’t want to go to trial. Although about one in five people facing charges went to trial a few decades ago, now roughly 97% of criminal charges result in a guilty plea by the defendant.

Choosing to defend yourself requires commitment and courage. Unfortunately, even when you know you’re innocent, it isn’t always easy to convince a jury of that fact. Despite your best efforts and careful planning, there is never a guarantee about the outcome of a criminal trial.

Some people find themselves convicted of a criminal offense despite trying to defend themselves against the allegations in court. What happens to you after the conviction?

The next step after conviction is sentencing

There is typically a range of possible penalties that a defendant could face after a conviction. Sentencing is when they find out exactly what consequences they will have to handle. Those accused of traffic infractions or misdemeanors may face sentencing right after their verdict.

If jail time is a possible penalty for the charge, then there will typically be a separate hearing for sentencing, meaning you may have to wait multiple weeks to find out what penalties the courts will assign. The exact sentence that you face will depend on the evidence presented at trial and any aggravating factors to the charges.

You may need to consider filing an appeal

After a conviction and your sentencing, you will really only have two options. One will be to serve your sentence and try to move on with your life. The other is to appeal the conviction.

If you believe that the state violated your rights or the courts misinterpreted the law, then you may have grounds for an appeal. You generally have to show that there was some kind of legal mistake or even misconduct that resulted in an unfair outcome.

Anything from inadequate legal counsel to a conflict of interest affecting how the judge handled your case could give you grounds for an appeal. A successful appeal might overturn your conviction or result in a second trial. A conviction is not the final step in the criminal justice process but often only a midway point. Understanding the various stages of criminal court can help you better plan for your defense.