The short answer is, possibly. The long answer to whether you get a new DUI trial if you win your appeal can depend on several factors, including the grounds on which the appeal was granted and the specific ruling of the appellate court.
When an appellate court reverses (takes away the drunk driving conviction) and remands (sends the case back to the trial court), they are saying that the trial court made one or more significant errors at your trial. This means that your DUI conviction cannot be upheld.
How Can A DUI Appeal Help In A New DUI Trial?
Often, the evidence that was allowed (incorrectly) to be introduced will either be excluded at your new trial or no longer available for use at the new trial. Hence, the prosecutor may not have enough evidence to proceed to a new trial.
The prosecutor may also consider that his or her office already took their best shot at you, and is now faced with starting over. This is expensive, and often their witness or witnesses may no longer be available. Plus, your defense attorney will have the benefit of using the detailed, sworn testimony of the police officers available in the transcript of your first trial to impeach these officers at any new trial. Such facts may give your attorney powerful leverage to negotiate with the prosecutor either to dismiss the DUI-DWI charges or seek to reduce the charges to a lesser offense.
Correcting an error in your sentencing
In rare cases, detailed review of the record in your entry of a guilty plea or in your sentencing after trial can reveal errors made by your judge, the prosecutor or even your own attorney. This type of post-conviction review is best handled by DUI attorneys who specialize in fighting such cases.
Errors may have occurred when the judge mistakenly sentenced you to the wrong code for too long or incorrectly sent you back to jail after the time allowed to do that had already passed or expired. The difficulty of such situations may be to locate and pay a specialist in habeas corpus relief, unless family, friends or a court-appointed attorney care enough to try to assist you.
Reversal and Remand for New Trial
If the appellate court reverses your DUI conviction due to significant legal errors that occurred during your original trial, such as improper admission of evidence or incorrect jury instructions, the court often remands the case back to the trial court for a new trial. In this scenario, you essentially start over, as if the first trial never happened. However, it’s worth noting that the prosecution will also have the opportunity to correct its mistakes, so a new trial doesn’t guarantee a different outcome.
Reversal Without Remand
In some instances, appellate courts may find that the evidence against you was insufficient to support a conviction. In such a case, the appellate court could reverse the conviction without remanding for a new trial. This is a best-case scenario, as you cannot be retried for the same offense due to the double jeopardy clause in the U.S. Constitution.
Rarely, an appellate court might order the dismissal of your case. This usually happens when there is a severe defect in the initial proceedings that cannot be remedied, such as the improper charging of the defendant or the discovery of new evidence that exonerates the defendant. In such a case, there will be no new trial, and the charges against you are dismissed.
If the appeal was focused on the severity of the sentence rather than the legitimacy of the conviction itself, winning the appeal would lead to sentence modification rather than a new trial. In these cases, the appellate court sends the case back to the trial court with instructions to resentence, based on the appellate court’s findings.
Even when an appellate court reverses a conviction and remands for a new trial, the prosecutor has the discretion to refile charges. Sometimes, due to various reasons such as unavailability of witnesses, the prosecutor might decide not to pursue a new trial.
Winning an appeal also opens the door for the prosecution to appeal the appellate court’s decision to an even higher court, depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. If the higher court reverses the appellate court’s decision, you could end up back at square one, without the need for a new trial.
Keep in mind that appeals are costly and time-consuming. Additionally, there’s a risk that you could be convicted again in a new trial. Therefore, the decision to appeal and potentially face a new trial should be made in consultation with a skilled DUI attorney who can assess the specifics of your case.
In summary, winning a DUI appeal can result in a variety of outcomes, ranging from a new trial to outright dismissal of charges. The specific circumstances of your case, the grounds for the appeal, and the appellate court’s ruling will determine whether you’ll face a new trial.
More DUI Appeals Resources
If you’d like to learn more about the DUI appeals process, read through some of our informative articles below. We convert the ins and outs of DUI appeals and dive into some complicated questions on the matter. Also, you can call 1-888-839-4384 anytime to schedule a free consultation.
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