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Criminal Appeals in Wisconsin - A Primer


Asking a question about the criminal appellate process is a lot like asking about surgery, or cooking times for holiday meals. General questions are not easily answered, as most answers depend heavily on the specific nature of each individual case. In this article we will provide a brief overview of the appeals process in Wisconsin. If you have specific questions about an appeal, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

The Appeal Process

The criminal appeal process is not a cookie cutter one. There is no standard length of time for a criminal appeal, and most of the process is based on the specific facts of an individual's case. Likewise, there is not a default criminal appeal. Appeals relate to certain issues and questions, such as:

  • Was there precedent that a judge ignored in making a decision in a motion hearing or in sentencing?
  • Was proper procedure not followed during a trial?

The length and success of your appeal will be based on the answers to these and other questions surrounding your case.

Examples of Criminal Appeals

Some people incorrectly think that successfully appealing a sentence will instantly wipe their record clean. This is not true. The appeal procedure does not automatically render a defendant not guilty.

If the appeal is successful, what happens next will depend on what issue was appealed. Here are two examples of specific criminal appeals and what may happen in each circumstance:

  • If the appellate issue were that a judge did not properly sentence an individual, that individual would be resentenced; they would not have a new trial.
  • If the appellate issue related to a motion hearing on what evidence or testimony would be allowed in at trial, the defendant might be entitled to a new trial.

The Wisconsin criminal appeals process is nuanced and complex. No two appeals cases are the same. The result of your appeal and the recommended course of action will all depend on the details of your unique case.


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