Appealing a DWI Conviction

Even after an individual has been convicted for driving while intoxicated, it is not the end of the line for the legal process, as a Colorado resident recently discovered.

In 2005, police arrested Isidore Griego for a DUI after he ran a red light and crashed into a road sign, according to ABC affiliate KMGH. In 2006, they arrested him for another DUI after he passed out in his car. In 2010, after several more DUIs, a court convicted Mr. Griego, and a judge sentenced him to four years in prison for attempted reckless manslaughter and attempted second degree assault, all based on his history of driving while intoxicated.

However, the Colorado Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s ruling. Since Mr. Griego never got closer than half a football field to another car, the court determined the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence that Mr. Griego had placed another person at substantial risk.

Even though Mr. Griego had already finished his prison sentence and will stay on parole, he will no longer have felony charges on his official record.

The appeal process

“Exhaust all legal options to ensure a fair outcome.”

The U.S. judicial system has an institutional preference to maintain a trial court’s rulings and findings to ensure consistency and instill public confidence in the system, FindLaw stated. Because of this, the aggrieved party must present an overwhelming instance of some sort of significant error made by the lower court. This does not include all mistakes, since harmless errors or errors which do not impact the overall outcome of the trial will not lead to a successful appeal. 

There are two routes an experienced criminal appeals attorney can try when appealing a DWI. The first option is only available if the lower court made a serious error of law that negatively impacted or affected a defendant’s substantial rights. The second option is much more difficult to substantiate and it involves the evidence presented during litigation not supporting the verdict.

If the grounds for appeal are sound enough to proceed, the next step in the appeals process involves drafting and presenting the legal brief. In this document, the appellant will argue that the lower court’s verdict should be overturned or dismissed, or the appellant should be re-tried or re-sentenced, because either a plain error was made or the evidence didn’t support the verdict.

A DWI conviction can be appealed if certain errors were made in the trial court.A DWI conviction can be appealed if certain errors were made in the trial court.

Once both sides have presented their written arguments to the appellate court, the court will review the entire record from the trial court. The record includes everything admitted into evidence, all documents filed with the court, and the court reporter’s transcription. The appellate court will not take any new evidence into consideration during this process. 

After reviewing the record and the opposing briefs, the appellate court will draft its own brief, which the appellant can respond to with a second brief. At this point, both sides can present oral arguments. At the end of this legal procedure, the appellate court will rule on the appeal. The losing party may appeal again up to the state’s supreme court, which in New York is the Court of Appeals. 

Who can help?

Based in Buffalo, New York, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria has the legal know-how and breadth of resources to thoroughly review the record of proceedings, conduct extensive research, file motions, and prepare and present persuasive written and oral arguments, representing the appellant with intelligence, strength, and tenacity. Lipsitz Green’s criminal defense appeals team is very responsive to inquiries from potential clients. Since an appeal must be filed quickly after a conviction, taking immediate action to ensure a proper appeal is crucial.

This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.