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Criminal convictions can be appealed in higher court

Being convicted of a crime in Louisiana can alter the course of your entire life. This is especially true if you are handed a prison sentence. When this happens, not only will you have your freedom taken away for a period of time, but you will also be contending with the consequences of having a prison record after you are released.

Therefore, if you receive a conviction, you may wish to request that an appellate court consider reviewing and changing the decision. As a defendant you have the right to appeal your case. Generally, the appeal will take place in an intermediate appellate court that is the next highest up in the system of the court that rendered your guilty verdict.

If an appeal is rejected by the intermediate appellate court, a defendant may then appeal to the next highest appellate court. Within a state legal system, this next court would typically be the state supreme court. A state supreme court usually holds final rulings regarding the state's laws.

It is quite common for a defendant to appeal a conviction. On the other hand, prosecutors cannot appeal an acquittal. Nor can a prosecutor attempt to to try a defendant twice for the same crime. Doing such is called "double jeopardy" and is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.

Depending on the basis of an appeal, the process could be fairly simple or extremely complex. It is possible that an appeal could require that an extensive amount of documentation and analysis be compiled. A defense attorney could help go over your case to determine your strongest arguments in regard to having your case appealed.

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