In Florida, someone who has been convicted of a crime can consider appealing a conviction to obtain relief from the conviction and sentence. The criminal court system allows appeal. However, most lower court decisions are upheld. Therefore, attempting to appeal a case may be a significant challenge. Some appeals are a matter of right and some are discretionary on the part of the appellate court. Generally, the party the files the appeal attempts to show a material error on the part of the trial court.
What Type of Error is Substantial?
The appellate courts distinguish between harmless error and a material error. Where an appellate court reviews an error as harmless, it is not considered to have a substantial impact on the disposition and eventual result of the case. Where an error by a trial court does not show that it affects the substantial rights of a party, it may be difficult to prove that a material mistake was made by the trial court and obtain relief.