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How does the Tennessee appeals process work?

Being arrested for a serious crime in Tennessee can be a scary process for anyone. Facing charges of rape, sexual violence, DWI, drug charges or violent crimes is a serious matter. When a person has been found guilty of a criminal charge, they have a right to an appeal if they believe something went wrong with the trial or sentencing. So how does the appeal process work in Tennessee?

After a person has been found guilty of a crime and sentenced for that crime, they may be eligible for an appeal. The person can file an appeal with the Court of Criminal Appeals. In that appeal the defendant will lay out what he believes went wrong during the trial or sentencing portion of his case. An attorney from the Attorney General's Office will file a brief with their response. The case will then be reviewed by the Court of Criminal Appeals and they will issue an opinion. From there either side can request permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court. If the permission is denied the opinion of the Court of Criminal Appeals stands.

Within one year of a defendant losing his direct appeal or if he didn't file an appeal the defendant may file an appeal for post-conviction relief. In this appeal the defendant alleges that there were constitutional violations in his trial or sentencing hearing. A post-conviction relief trial is handled by the trial court level. Their decision can be appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Filing an appeal can be a long and complicated process. An attorney skilled in criminal defense can help a defendant with the appeals process in Tennessee.

Source:, "Criminal Appeals Process", accessed on Aug. 30, 2015

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