Sentence Modification, Appeals

Napa Valley Sentence Modifications and Appeals

No one wants to be convicted and sentenced for a crime in the Napa Valley, but if this has happened to you or someone you love, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up hope. Courts have been known to overturn decisions and show leniency – sometimes exonerating people from their charges altogether – if you fight for your rights and know what you’re doing.

That’s why you want an experienced Napa Valley modification and appeals lawyer on your side. They know the ins and outs of the law as well as how things work in the local system, and can make sure that you are aware of all of your options.

 What Are Napa Valley Sentence Modifications and Appeals?

 The way that sentence modification works in California is that after the initial conviction has been made and the prison sentence has been set, the sentencing court is given 120 days to act as if the original sentencing never took place and modify it as they see fit. Judges are also able to modify sentences, provided the sentence hasn’t been entered into the minutes yet and the convict hasn’t already begun to serve it. And finally, Napa Valley defendants themselves can challenge the legality of their imprisonment or probation after they’ve begun serving their sentence by filing a writ of habeas corpus. Typically, the reason given is that their rights weren’t given or were violated in some way. In order to do this, defendants would want to retain the services of a qualified sentence modification attorney to help them through the process. Most of the time, sentence modification involves reducing the time spent in prison or changing the requirements and terms of a person’s probation.

Appeals in California are different than modifications because they are based on the assertion that a legal error was made that led to the conviction. An appeal doesn’t mean that a whole new trial will take place, nor does it allow for new evidence or witness testimony. What it is, instead, is a review conducted by the appellate court (or court of appeals) of everything that went on during the initial trial. If that court finds that legal errors occurred during the lower court’s proceedings that had a major impact on the rights of one of the parties – either the plaintiff or the defendant – they can overrule the decision reached at trial.

 How Can You Fight to Have Your Sentence Modified or Appealed in Napa Valley?

 As mentioned before, sentence modifications can happen in one of three ways:

Of the three, there’s really only one that involves fighting on the part of the defendant. If you decide to request a modification for your sentence because you believe your rights were violated, you will need to file a writ of habeas corpus – but that’s only the beginning. In order to make sure you handle all of the proceedings correctly, it is in your best interest to talk to an experienced Napa Valley sentence modification lawyer before moving forward with anything. He or she can guide you down the legal pathway and make sure that you know what is required each step of the way. Much of sentence modification comes down to knowing how to make the correct argument. Beyond rights violation, judges have been known to modify sentences due to any number of things including providing restitution to victims, attending counseling, maintaining good behavior, suffering from health problems, or even dealing with a death in your family. With the help of qualified Napa Valley sentence modification attorneys, many people have been able to have their sentences modified in positive ways, such as serving out their time in a weekend work program or under house arrest.

Sentence appeals in Napa Valley require your attorney to file a general notice of appeal. This notice doesn’t have to list specific reasons for the appeal, but there are important things to know about the appeals process before you get into it, which is why it is wise to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer right from the get-go. One of the most important facts is that pleading guilty or no contest makes the appeals process more complex. After all, you’re essentially agreeing to the punishment ahead of time, then backtracking after it is given. In these cases, your attorney has to make clear that you’re not attempting to change the plea, but rather arguing only against the sentence itself. Because of the complexity involved, you want someone who knows the law.

Don’t play games with your future. Before attempting an appeal or a sentence modification, make sure to consult with a qualified Napa Valley attorney.

By Steven Taxman

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