Eric J. Dirga, P.A.

A Florida Trial Attorney

Criminal Record Expungements/Sealings, Traffic Defense.

733 West Colonial Drive, Orlando 32801 - 407-841-5555

Florida Criminal Appeals and Writs

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What is a direct appeal?

An appeal is a review of your judgment and sentence by a higher court for any mistakes made by the trial judge. Although there are limited exceptions, a direct appeal is generally not available to a criminal defendant who waives the right to a trial and instead enters a guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) plea.

An appeal is not a second trial, and the appeals court will not consider any new evidence. It is only a review of what actually happened, not what you wish had happened, at your trial.

As the complaining party (Appellant), you must convince the appellate court of two things:

1) that there were one or more judicial errors in your trial and

2) that you were harmed, or prejudiced, by the error(s).

What is collateral (post-conviction) review?

Collateral, or post-conviction, review is available to a criminal defendant following a trial or after the entry of a plea. However, a post-conviction proceeding is not a second appeal. It is generally a review of your case for any mistakes made by your former defense counsel rather than the trial judge.

A movant for post-conviction relief must convince the court of two things: 1) that former defense counsel’s legal representation was deficient by some act or omission and 2) that without counsel’s mistake there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the case would have been different.

What is a jurisdictional deadline?

There is a proper time and place for most claims. Most court proceedings, including appeals and post-conviction proceedings, have jurisdictional deadlines – some as short as 30 days. Not knowing about a deadline or how to calculate one is rarely a good excuse for missing it. The failure to file on time could force a judge to deny relief on an otherwise-meritorious issue.

What is the risk of self-representation (going pro se)?

A criminal defendant is not automatically entitled to appointed counsel in each and every stage of the case. Generally, you are on your own once your conviction and sentence become final. But self-representation is risky. The courts may hold a pro se litigant to the same standard as a practicing lawyer. The law of the case doctrine may bar re-presentation of the same issue by a lawyer if you decide to go pro se the first time around and lose.

Attorney Eric Dirga has been practicing law since 1995. He has focused a majority of his practice on criminal law. He is available for criminal appeals only.

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