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If a defendant in a criminal prosecution for DUI/DWI is found guilty, the defendant can appeal the conviction (finding of guilt) or the sentence (punishment such as jail or prison, restitution, community service, probation, etc.). An appeal is not another trial—it is an opportunity to raise specific errors that might have occurred at trial. For example, a convicted defendant might claim on appeal that the judge made an incorrect ruling on an important question such as whether to exclude or suppress certain evidence, or whether to impose a certain sentence or punishment. Appeals are complex processes and generally require the expertise of a licensed lawyer.

On appeal a conviction may be reversed, a sentence may be altered, or the case may be sent back to the trial court for a new trial or a new sentence. There are generally two potential levels of appellate review following a defendant’s conviction in a state court or federal trial court—an intermediate court (often called the court of appeals) and the highest court, or court of last resort (often the supreme court). Although a defendant usually has an automatic right to appeal a final conviction to the intermediate court of appeals, in many jurisdictions the highest court has discretion on whether to accept an appeal to review a case—known as discretionary review.

In Texas, a defendant found guilty of DUI/DWI has the right to appeal the conviction or sentence. The appeal is not a retrial but a process to challenge legal errors that may have occurred during the trial, such as improper evidence rulings or sentencing issues. Appeals require the skills of an attorney due to their complexity. If successful, an appeal can result in the reversal of the conviction, modification of the sentence, or a remand for a new trial or sentencing. Texas has two levels of appellate review: the intermediate appellate courts, known as the Courts of Appeals, and the highest court, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Defendants have an automatic right to appeal to the intermediate court, but the Court of Criminal Appeals has discretionary review, meaning it can choose whether to hear an appeal.

Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

Title 18 U.S.C. Chapter 229: Postsentence Administration
This chapter outlines the procedures for the administration of federal sentences, which is relevant to understanding the potential outcomes of an appeal regarding sentencing.

Title 18 of the United States Code, particularly Chapter 229, provides the framework for the administration of federal sentences. It includes provisions for the correction or reduction of sentences, the role of the Bureau of Prisons in managing the imprisonment of convicted individuals, and the conditions under which a sentence can be appealed or reviewed. This chapter is relevant for defendants who are appealing their sentence as it outlines the legal basis for altering a sentence post-conviction, including the possibility of a sentence reduction for substantial assistance to authorities (Section 3582), compassionate release (Section 3582(c)(1)(A)), and correction of a sentence by the sentencing court (Section 3582(c)(1)(B)).

Title 28 U.S.C. Chapter 158: Appeals
This chapter governs the procedures for appeals in federal courts, which is directly relevant to the process of appealing a DUI/DWI conviction or sentence.

Title 28 of the United States Code, Chapter 158, details the procedures for appeals to courts of appeals from decisions of district courts and administrative agencies. It outlines the jurisdiction of the appellate courts, the timing and manner of the appeal process, and the standards of review that appellate courts will apply to the decisions of lower courts. This chapter is particularly relevant for defendants seeking to appeal a DUI/DWI conviction or sentence, as it provides the legal framework for how such appeals should be conducted, including the notice of appeal (Section 2107), the record on appeal (Section 2112), and the power of the court of appeals to order a new trial or to direct the entry of judgment (Section 2106).

Title 28 U.S.C. Chapter 207: Jurisdiction and Venue
This chapter includes provisions on the jurisdiction of appellate courts, which is essential for understanding which court has the authority to hear a DUI/DWI appeal.

Title 28 of the United States Code, Chapter 207, defines the jurisdiction and venue of federal appellate courts. It delineates the scope of appellate review and the authority of different levels of federal courts to hear appeals. This is relevant for DUI/DWI appeals as it helps determine the proper venue for filing an appeal and the extent to which appellate courts can review cases from lower courts. The chapter includes sections on the Supreme Court's jurisdiction (Sections 1251-1258), the courts of appeals (Sections 1291-1295), and the procedures for transferring cases (Section 1404), which collectively establish the legal context for where and how a DUI/DWI appeal can be pursued.

Title 28 U.S.C. Chapter 213: Court of Appeals
This chapter outlines the composition and powers of the courts of appeals, which are typically the first level of appellate review in the federal system.

Title 28 of the United States Code, Chapter 213, provides information on the organization and powers of the United States courts of appeals. It includes sections on the number of judges in each circuit (Section 44), the powers of a single judge (Section 46), and the en banc proceedings (Section 46(c)). This chapter is relevant to DUI/DWI appeals as it explains the structure and functioning of the intermediate appellate courts, which are often the first stop for defendants appealing their convictions or sentences. Understanding the composition and powers of these courts is crucial for navigating the appellate process.

Title 28 U.S.C. Chapter 125: The Supreme Court
This chapter provides information on the Supreme Court's jurisdiction and procedures, which is relevant for understanding the final stage of appellate review in the federal system.

Title 28 of the United States Code, Chapter 125, outlines the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States, including the types of cases it can hear on appeal. It specifies the procedures for appealing to the Supreme Court, including the writ of certiorari (Section 1254), which is the primary method by which the Court exercises its discretion to decide which cases to review. This chapter is relevant for DUI/DWI appeals that have been through the lower appellate courts and are being petitioned for review by the Supreme Court. It is important for understanding the limited and discretionary nature of Supreme Court review.