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After conviction, whether by plea, or trial, you do have a right to appeal your decision to the Indiana Court of Appeals. If you do such, and are denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals, you can also petition to have the Indiana Supreme Court review the decision, or even request that the United States Supreme Court look at your case. In Indiana, all defendants have the right to file an appeal, unless in some manner it is waived. An appeal seeks the review of rulings made by the trial court, whether they be rulings on evidence, procedure or otherwise that a defendant feels were unjust.
An appeal requires a very strict and specific process. Time limitations are very important, so if in fact you wish to appeal your conviction or any part of that conviction, you should contact an attorney immediately after sentence is handed down. There are time limits for filing your appeal in the Indiana Court of Appeals; time limits on briefs and other pleadings that you may file. If these time frames are not met, you may forfeit your right to appeal.
Modification of Sentence
If you have been convicted in a criminal case, whether after trial, or by plea agreement, and a sentence has been issued you do have the right to petition the court to “modify” your sentence.
Under prior law, often times you were not allowed the modification if you agreed in a “plea agreement” that the sentence was proper and could not be modified. Under our new law, these provisions of plea agreements are “unenforceable”, and you may petition the court for modification.
A modification of sentence is when you are requesting that the court “modify” or “change” the terms of your sentence. In many cases, this is a petition asking the court to reduce your sentence and allow you early release from prison or jail, based upon your conduct, and other matters that you can present to the court. Many times, these will be granted, if you can show the court that you have been an exemplary prisoner if in prison, or in the jail; have completed education or other classes; and overall, have a sufficient reason for modification. Hearing will generally be set, and you may bring witnesses on your own behalf.
Sentence modification is very important due to the fact that many crimes have maximum and minimum sentences which must be imposed, and it gives you an opportunity, based upon your behavior, background, past criminal history and other matters to request that the Court reduce, or modify your sentence.