Most of the time, clients come to us asking for our help defending them against a DWI conviction. In other scenarios, clients need our help even after they have been issued a conviction. Because DWIs are criminal cases, the criminal conviction can be appealed under certain circumstances. DWIs are also administrative matters, which affect your right to drive. If you attend an administrative hearing and your license is suspended in addition to other administrative penalties, you may appeal this as well.
Not everyone has the right to appeal their DWI convictions and license suspension. In order to appeal, you must have grounds for an appeal. If you wish to object to an administrative license suspension, you can appeal with the Superior Court. If you wish to appeal your criminal DWI conviction, then you may be able to appeal in New Hampshire Supreme Court. For more serious DWI convictions, such as a second or subsequent DWI, you may have to appeal in Superior Court. While it is rare, defendant-appellants can appeal even further by going to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
What are some reasons you might be able to appeal your criminal case? First of all, judges can make bad rulings. Appeals are made based on certain "assignments of error" which could include a judge wrongfully denying a motion or wrongfully considering evidence that you believe should not have been considered. Prosecutors can also act unethically, resulting in unfair trials. Even your defense lawyer could have dealt with your case unprofessionally. If the DWI lawyer who handled your first case failed to uphold their professional obligations to you, then this could be a reason for appeal.
You cannot make an appeal until the final judgment is entered into. For a DWI criminal case, this might include a "guilty" judgment for driving while intoxicated as well as a criminal sentencing that could include jail time, fines and even community restitution. For a DWI administrative case, this would include license suspension or revocation, mandatory alcohol rehabilitation and possibly the installation of an ignition interlock device.
If your DWI conviction included jail sentencing, you may be able to go free on bail until your appeal goes through. This is typically only granted in misdemeanor cases. If you are appealing a felony offense that you have just been convicted and sentenced for, you may not be granted bail or bail could be set too high for you to afford.
Each case is extremely unique. One individual's appeal might be successful while another individual's appeal is not, even if their cases were nearly identical. If you would like to learn of your right to appeal and whether or not this is a viable option for your case, please do not hesitate to contact a New Hampshire DWI lawyer at Shaheen & Gordon today.