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Types Of Orders That Can Be Appealed In A Delaware Criminal Case


While every case is different, a person convicted of a crime in Delaware will almost always have grounds to appeal various orders and decisions by the trial court. To get the appellate process moving, you must file the notice of appeal and comply with other requirements listed in Delaware criminal procedure rules. Keep in mind that appeals are not a new trial in your case, so there will be no evidence to present or witnesses to testify. The appellate court is strictly reviewing what transpired below and decisions made by the judge, which are part of the trial court record. If there were errors, appeals judges may reverse or affirm the court’s findings, and possibly send the case back for further proceedings.

However, not all decisions by the judge are appealable. There are rules in place to prevent a criminal defendant from seeking appellate review every time the judge sides with the prosecutor. It is wise to get help from a Wilmington criminal appeals lawyer for a real-life case, but you might benefit from knowing what orders you can appeal.

Only Final Orders 

You cannot appeal any decision made by the judge until the court enters a final order in a criminal case. This point is contrary to civil cases, in which the parties can file an appeal for “interlocutory” orders that are entered during proceedings. Instead, in a Delaware criminal case, you can only appeal the court’s final judgment – and only once the sentence has been imposed. 

Appealing Your Conviction

 Though you cannot appeal interlocutory orders in a Delaware criminal case, decisions by the judge are subject to appeal once the judgment is final. In other words, orders from the point of your arrest to the moment of your conviction can still be raised on appeal – just not when your case is pending. Some of the findings by the judge might have been erroneous and, if they played a role in convicting you, it is critical to request appellate review. For instance:

  • Did the judge admit evidence that police obtained through unlawful search and seizure?
  • Did the court err in allowing hearsay testimony?
  • Was the judge correct to toss evidence of your alibi?
  • Were you denied a speedy trial or the right to confront witnesses?

Sentencing as the Basis for Appeals 

You can also appeal the judge’s order sentencing you to jail time, fines, probation, or other penalties. In many criminal cases, the sentencing hearing will be a separate proceeding from the trial. Both sides can present evidence and witnesses to support their positions on sentencing, and the court considers this information when sentencing the defendant. However, there can be errors within this process as well, and the appellate process is the way to resolve them.

Consult with a Wilmington, DE Criminal Appeals Attorney to Learn More

 To learn more about your rights and options through the criminal appeals process, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica at 302.600.1262 or via our website. We can set up a consultation to review your circumstances and discuss strategy.



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