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What are the Potential Outcomes in a Felony Criminal Appeal in Minnesota?

by | Jan 6, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Being arrested and charged with a felony offense is a serious, potentially even life-altering situation. Under Minnesota law (Sec. 609.02 MN Statutes), a felony is defined as “a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than one year may be imposed.” Going through the criminal justice process is never easy—it is even more challenging if you get an unfavorable decision.

You have the right to appeal a felony conviction in Minnesota. This raises an important question: What are the possible outcomes for a criminal appeal? The answer depends on several different factors. Here, our Mankato criminal defense lawyer provides an overview of the possible outcomes in a criminal appeal in Minnesota.

You Have a Limited Amount of Time to File a Criminal Appeal

Before discussing the possible outcomes of appealing a felony conviction in Minnesota, it is important to emphasize that you only have a very limited amount of time to raise your appeal at all. The appeals process starts with a document called a Notice of Appeal. Under Minnesota law (Minnesota Court Rules 104.01), a Notice of Appeal in a felony must be submitted within 60 days after the entry of the judgment in question.

Note: Prosecutors generally have no right to appeal an acquittal. If you are found not guilty of a felony, the prosecution cannot try again on appeal.

An Overview of Potential Results of a Criminal Appeal in Minnesota

There is a misconception amongst people that an appeal is akin to a new trial. That is simply not the case. An appeal of a felony conviction is an opportunity to raise grounds to challenge a serious legal mistake or procedural error. It happens when a higher court reviews the decision of a lower court. What are the outcomes of a felony appeal in Minnesota? It could be any of the following:

  • Affirmation: The Court of Appeals affirms the decision of the lower court, meaning that the conviction and sentence are upheld. Unfortunately, this is the most common outcome of a criminal appeal in Minnesota. Most felony appeals are not successful.
  • Reverse and Remand: The Court of Appeals reverses the decision of the lower court and then decides to remand the case back to the lower court for further proceedings. This means that the lower court must revisit the case and make a new decision based on the instructions from the appeals court.
  • Reverse and Vacate: The Court of Appeals reverses the decision of the lower court and vacates the conviction or sentence. This means that the conviction or sentence is thrown out and the case is essentially over. However, in this scenario, the prosecution may be able to seek a retrial.

Consult With Our Mankato & Rochester Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota criminal defense attorneys have the professional skills and knowledge to handle complex criminal appeals. Contact our criminal defense team today to arrange your confidential, no commitment consultation. With offices in Mankato and Rochester, we are well-positioned to handle criminal appeals throughout Southern Minnesota.