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The Best Criminal Appeal Lawyers in Michigan

Blank Law, PC Team

The Best Criminal Appeal Lawyers in Michigan

Have you been wrongly convicted of a crime in the state of Michigan? Have you been improperly sentenced to a harsher-than-normal prison term? If so, you have the legal right to appeal both that guilty verdict and that sentence.

With that said, the Michigan criminal appeals process can be confusing and even a little scary when you have already been convicted. A court of appeals – also called the appellate court – can be your last and best chance to get the justice you were denied earlier in the lower district court.

In fact, appellate circuit courts play a vital role in the criminal justice system process. Every year, the U.S. Supreme Court – the highest court of appeals in the country only hears about 150 of the roughly 7,000 cases it is asked to review. This means the 12 Circuit Courts of Appeals typically have the final word in the overwhelming majority of cases.

To have your best chance at successfully having your conviction thrown out or having any other part of the previous decision overturned, you will need specialized legal help in the form of a criminal appeals lawyer, also called an appellate attorney.

To help you understand how important it is to have the right legal representation by your side when filing a Michigan criminal appeal, let’s take a closer look at how the process works and what a good appellate attorney brings to the table.

Defining Wrongful Convictions

Unfortunately, wrongful convictions do happen within the Michigan criminal justice system. There are two main reasons why a criminal conviction may be classified as wrongful.

First, you are convicted of a crime legally, even though you are factually innocent.

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Often, this is the result of false testimony or improperly-interpreted evidence. For example, according to the National Institute of Justice, well over 300 people who were convicted of a crime were later exonerated by advances in DNA testing.

It is important to understand that the discovery of new evidence is not grounds for an appeal.

Second, there were procedural and legal errors made during your district court hearing that compromised or outright violated your due process, civil, or Constitutional rights.

Appellate attorneys are different from trial court attorneys in that they do not prepare a case aimed at convincing a jury of your peers that you are not guilty of the criminal offenses you are facing. They do not attempt to create reasonable doubt by calling witnesses, presenting evidence, introducing experts,etc.

This is because a Michigan court of appeals does not retry your earlier criminal case from the district court. In appellate court, no witnesses are called and no new evidence is presented.

Instead, your appellate attorney files a motion detailing any errors or improprieties that may have occurred during your earlier criminal trial at the local district court level.

Appellate courts review the decisions and procedures from trial courts to determine if the court proceedings were fair and that the right laws were properly followed. In other words, they check for wrongful convictions.

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To protect your right to a fair trial, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

What Happens When You Win the Appeal?

If the appellate court determines that there were legal errors that harmed your due process rights, you win your appeal and the original verdict is overturned. Jurisdiction is returned to the original trial court, and everything goes back to the beginning.

You may receive a new trial, or, if the errors and improprieties were egregious enough, the prosecuting District Attorney may now be more willing to offer a more favorable plea bargain deal.

In many cases, the DA will decline to refile charges due to the cost to taxpayers in terms of time, manpower, and money.

While both sides have the right to appeal the decision in civil cases, only you as the defendant have the right to appeal a guilty verdict in a criminal case.

For your best chance of winning your Michigan criminal appeals, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

What Happens When You Lose the Appeal?

If, however, the appellate court judge finds no proof of any legal wrongdoings or errors that impacted the outcome in the lower trial court, then the original verdict is upheld and you lose the appeal.

At this juncture, the case is over unless you as the appellant file a petition for one of the following:


This allows your criminal appeals lawyer to point out any legal errors, misstatements, omissions, or important relevant facts that may have influenced the appellate court’s decision. Again, however, no new information or evidence may be provided during this rehearing. Only errors and information already provided in the appeal can be considered.

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If you have lost an appeal and want to petition the Court for a rehearing, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

Literally translated as “to produce the body”, a Writ of Habeas Corpus is when the appellate judge orders the State to physically bring you to court so you can plead your case in person.

This is a type of post-conviction legal relief that may be available if you are eligible and have already exhausted all other appeal options. It is a standard appeal option for appellants who have already been convicted and sentenced to prison.

Grounds for a Writ of Habeas Corpus include:

  • Violation of your due process rights
  • Ineffective counsel
  • Judicial misconduct
  • Jury misconduct
  • Prison conditions that violate your civil rights
  • Failure to grant you a speedy and public trial

Importantly, and unique to a Writ of Habeas Corpus, any new evidence that has been subsequently discovered may now be introduced.

If you have been convicted and your legal rights have been violated, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Transfer the Appeal

You may also be able to file a motion to transfer your criminal appeal to another court. This option is typically available when there are either issues with uniformity in decisions on a particular legal issue or if it involves a significant question of law.

If you feel that you did not receive a fair trial based on local biases and that a change of venue may help with that, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Appeal to the Highest Court

The final option when you lose in appellate court is to further appeal your case to the highest available court. For issues involving state law, this means petitioning the Michigan Supreme Court. When appealing the decision of a federal court, the highest appellate level is the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is important to understand that having your case heard by the state or federal supreme court is not considered a “matter of right.” Supreme Courts typically hear only a fraction of the cases submitted to them for appeal. Usually, a case is only heard at this level if it involves a question of legal decision uniformity or a substantial question of law.

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If you have exhausted all other appeal options and need to plead your case at the next level, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

What if New Evidence is Discovered?

As explained earlier, the discovery of new evidence that proves your innocence is not grounds for an appeal. It may, however, allow your criminal defense attorney to file a motion for a new trial. If your petition is grounded, the judge will vacate the previous guilty verdict, declare the previous court proceedings null, and start all over again with a new trial and a new jury.

Introducing new evidence after a guilty verdict has already been reached in trial court is not easy. It is not enough to simply announce the discovery of new evidence. The judge must be convinced that this new evidence is so significant that it could have possibly changed the verdict if it was known earlier.

A good criminal appeals lawyer can present the new evidence to the judge in a compelling manner that highlights that significance.

If you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime in Michigan and new evidence has come to light that could prove your innocence, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

How to Find the Best Criminal Appeals Lawyers in Michigan

Not all appeal lawyers are created equal. While most criminal defense attorneys can handle simple criminal cases at the trial court level, appellate court requires an entirely different level of legal expertise. When you need to appeal a criminal conviction that can potentially affect the rest of your life – your freedom, your family, and your future – you need the best specialized legal representation possible.

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When you need to file a criminal appeal in Michigan, these are the things to look for in a criminal defense attorney:


First and foremost, you want a lawyer that has in-depth knowledge of both the substantive and procedural laws related to Michigan criminal appeals. This knowledge is absolutely crucial to the likelihood of a successful appeal, because the timelines, standards, and rules for appeals are very different from those for criminal trials in lower courts.

A criminal lawyer who has only handled cases in trial court will not have the same necessary familiarity with the appeal process. Even one filing mistake, procedural error, or poor argument can mean the difference between an overturned conviction and an upheld decision that sends you to prison.


Whenever possible, search for appellate attorneys whose practice area focuses on the specific types of charges that you faced in the lower criminal court. This specialized knowledge can help your appellate attorney find any errors in your earlier trial that can be the basis for a successful appeal.

For example, if you were charged in the lower district court with criminal sexual conduct, the difference between a felony conviction and a misdemeanor is very often a matter of legal interpretation and argument. If your previous CSC lawyer did not specialize in those types of cases, there may have been errors and missed opportunities that hurt your case.

If your appellate attorney focuses on criminal sexual conduct cases, they may be able to spot those mistakes and establish that you did not have effective counsel, which is a protected right under the Sixth Amendment.

A lack of competent representation is grounds for a Michigan criminal appeal.

If you were wrongfully convicted because of ineffective counsel, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.


With that said, knowledge of the law isn’t enough. The best Michigan appellate attorneys will also have proven experience actually handling cases like yours in every Michigan court of appeals.

  • Circuit Court
  • Michigan Supreme Court
  • United States Supreme Court

A good appellate attorney will have heard and made all the arguments before, so they will know which strategies work and which ones don’t.

This also means that an experienced appellate attorney can navigate through the complicated appeals process of the criminal justice system in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

At Blank Law, PC, founding criminal defense and appeals lawyer Nicole Blank Becker has been a force within the Michigan criminal justice system for more than 20 years, serving as both an Assistant Prosecutor and as a private defense attorney. Nicole’s vast professional experience includes her roles as the Chief of Macomb County Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Crimes Units.

Attorney Christopher Coyle has likewise served the public in Wayne County for more than 30 years. Chris first worked as an Assistant Prosecutor, and eventually rose to the position of Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Unit.

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Nicole and Christopher have represented both sides of the law – prosecution and defense – in thousands of cases all around the state of Michigan. They possess the unique and practical skill set that can help you successfully appeal any wrongful convictions.

Proven Success

Most of all, a top Michigan criminal appeals lawyer will have a provable track record of successful appellate court cases. They should be able to show you how both they and their law firm have helped others who have suffered wrongful convictions receive justice.

Due to their experience, knowledge, and proven successes, Nicole and Chris have each earned their outstanding reputations, both nationally and within the Michigan legal community.

Filing a criminal appeal in Michigan is your last shot to receive justice after a wrongful conviction, and you need the best appellate lawyers in Michigan by your side.

That is Blank Law, PC!

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If you were wrongfully convicted and you need to file an appeal, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION now!

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