A criminal conviction can be a significant and life-changing event with wide-ranging negative consequences. The fight doesn’t have to end with a conviction.
Appealing a criminal conviction requires demonstrating that the judge rendering the decision made a legal error in his or her reasoning. Finding a legal error only gets you half way there. To succeed on appeal, it must also be shown that the legal error is significant enough to warrant overturning or changing the verdict below. Arguments on appeal can be challenging and complex. It is important to have an experienced criminal lawyer navigate the appeal process with you. That lawyer must understand both the law that applies to criminal trials and the unique rules and processes that govern the appeal process.
Appeals can be brought against convictions, sentences, and other rulings like a finding of unfitness to stand trial or of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder. Decisions rendered in summary proceedings in the Ontario Court of Justice are appealed to a single-judge panel of the Summary Conviction Appeal Court in the Superior Court of Justice. Decisions rendered in indictable matters are appealed to a three-judge panel at the Ontario Court of Appeal. A further appeal can in some instances be brought to the Supreme Court of Canada, where the issue in your case raises a matter of national importance or where the judges hearing the appeal below split in their decision.
You may also apply for bail pending appeal with a proper bail plan in place, if the appellate court is satisfied that your appeal is not frivolous and your detention is not necessary in the public interest. An experienced criminal lawyer can help ensure that you are in the best position to ask an appellate court to release you pending your appeal.
There are limitation periods for filing an appeal. Most importantly, a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date of sentence if appealing a conviction or sentence, or for any other order, within 30 days after that order is made. At the Supreme Court of Canada, a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 or 60 days of the judgment being appealed, depending on whether the appeal is by right or requires leave. To preserve your ability to appeal, it is important to contact a criminal lawyer right away if you have been or are going to be sentenced for a crime, or if an order you wish to appeal has been or is going to be rendered.
Contact Weisberg Law for a consultation and advice on appealing your matter. The office can be reached at 416.605.4811.