Even if you are convicted of a crime in a Kansas courtroom, the fight is not necessarily over. There are additional proceedings that can occur after a conviction that will allow you to seek a new trial or to overturn your conviction completely. Known as post-conviction remedies, these proceedings differ from a standard criminal trial as they are only available after you have been found guilty. These remedies include direct appeals of your conviction that happen immediately, as well as other motions that may be filed at a later date that challenge certain aspects of your sentence or conviction.
Appellate practice is significantly different than the work most criminal defense attorneys do each day. It requires a special skillset and an understanding of the complex rules that apply in post-conviction cases. That's why it is helpful to have an attorney on your side with experience seeking post-conviction relief. If you have been convicted of a crime in Kansas and are seeking post-conviction relief, contact attorney Adam Stolte today.
When you are convicted of a crime, you will have the opportunity to challenge that conviction immediately through a direct appeal. A direct appeal involves filing additional pleadings in your current case that ask the decision from the trial court to be reviewed or overturned. A direct appeal of a conviction in municipal court works a little differently than an appeal from district court.
Municipal Court Appeals
Many traffic violations and minor charges are initially heard in a Kansas municipal court. If found guilty, you have the right to an immediate municipal court appeal. However, the appeal must be perfected within 14 days of the judgment against you to be timely.
Instead of sending the appeal to an appellate court for review, an appeal from municipal court is heard by the district court of the county. Municipal court proceedings are not recorded on the official record, which makes it impractical to have an appellate court review the case. That is also why the district court provides a de novo standard of review. A de novo appeal means that the case starts all over again. The two parties will begin preparing for trial, and the decision of the municipal court is forgotten. This can be valuable to a defendant in a criminal case, as it gives you more than one chance to obtain an acquittal.
District Court Appeals
Appeals from district court are handled differently than in municipal court. A district court is a court of record, meaning that a court reporter will make a record of a criminal trial. If you are found guilty, you can appeal your case to the Kansas Court of Appeals. If you follow the appellate rules and timely file your appeal, the Court of Appeals will review the transcript of your trial, the pleadings in your case, and the arguments made by your Kansas post-conviction relief attorney before making their decision. It is possible the appellate court will side with the state and uphold your conviction. However, if the court agrees with your arguments, it may grant you a new trial or dismiss your case entirely.
Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence
There are also post-conviction remedies other than a direct appeal of your conviction. One example is known as the motion to correct an illegal sentence. This motion is intended for simply correcting a clerical or mathematical error in a sentence. It cannot be used for challenging the underlying conviction.
A motion to correct an illegal sentence is typically used in a case involving a plea bargain. For example, if the plea bargain was for the legal maximum of two years of probation but the final order mistakenly reflects five years, a motion to correct an illegal sentence may be proper.
Post-Conviction DNA Testing
Under Kansas law, there is a limited right to reopen a closed criminal case for the purpose of DNA testing. However, the relevant Kansas statute strictly limits this remedy to defendants convicted of murder in the first degree and rape. There are additional restrictions on the use of DNA testing even in these cases; contact Stolte Law, LLC to learn when post-conviction DNA testing is an option.
The Value of Appellate Experience
Whether you are considering an appeal of a conviction from municipal court of weighing the odds of a motion to correct an illegal sentence, a seasoned Kansas post-conviction lawyer may be right for you. Attorney Adam Stolte is experienced vigorously defending his clients at both the trial and appellate level. This combined experience allows for him to effectively advocate for his clients at every level. To discuss your case, contact Stolte Law, LLC today for a free consultation.