If you’re planning to appeal a criminal conviction in a certain state, choosing the right appeals attorney can often make the difference between success and failure. But does your appeals attorney need to be in the same state where your trial occurred? And if so, how does this limit your options?
In reality, your attorney does not necessarily have to reside in the state where your conviction occurred in order to file an appeal for you; however, he/she must at least be licensed to practice in that state. Likewise, if yours is a federal case, your attorney needs to be a member in good standing of the district court circuit where your trial was held. Beyond these conditions, the most important thing to consider is your attorney’s prior experience and track record for filing successful appeals in your state.
Does Location Matter?
Is there a benefit to having your appeals attorney reside in the same state where your trial occurred? It can be beneficial, and indeed this is the case in some instances. However, it’s important to understand that a defense attorney isn’t qualified to handle your case simply because of locale, as many defendants have unfortunately discovered the hard way. By the same token, if you have been convicted on the federal level, your attorney’s location is not as important because federal cases tend to function fairly uniformly throughout the country.
Experience Does Matter!
A more important question to ask, then, is not whether the attorney is local to the state where your trial occurred, but rather whether the attorney has proven experience with your type of case within that state, as well as with the courts themselves. If an attorney is either a) not fully knowledgable of the applicable laws in your jurisdiction, or b) inexperienced with the particular court procedures within that jurisdiction, it can hurt your chances for a successful appeal. If, on the other hand, the attorney has prior experience in that jurisdiction, as well as a good track record for handling cases like yours, there’s an improved chance that he/she will be able to help you obtain a positive outcome, regardless of where the attorney resides.
Thus, when selecting an attorney to help you appeal your conviction, location is not as important as proven experience and understanding of the law. If your attorney is licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and can provide a track record of results with cases similar to yours, your chances for success are greatly improved.