How an Appeal Works

An appeal is a chance to challenge discrete mistakes made at the trial level.  It is not a second chance to do a new trial. 

if you are unhappy with your trial result because you think the jury just got it wrong, you appeal is unlikely to succeed.  The appellate court typically won't reweigh the evidence presented at trial.

However, if you feel you lost the case because the trial court made a bad ruling on evidence or applied the law incorrectly to the facts, then the issue may be appealable. 

For instance, if the trial court allowed your opponent to introduce a critical piece of evidence, say a “smoking gun” document that you believe should not have been admitted on a legal ground (such as failure to properly authenticate the document) then you can use an appeal to challenge the trial court’s decision to admit the document.  If you prevail on appeal, the appellate court would vacate the trial decision and could reverse it entirely or remand the case for a new trial.

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