Difference Between a Motion for a New Trial Versus an Appeal

Posted on by New Mexico Criminal Law Offices

Trial Attorneys Pursuing New Trials and Appeals on Client’s Behalf in the New Mexico Court System

Judge's GavelLaws entitle any defendant facing criminal charges in New Mexico to a fair trial judged by his or her peers (the jury). Defendants are also entitled to adequate counsel – essentially, a competent attorney who will represent them as best as possible during the case. There are instances where mistakes happen, which can lead to a wrong decision.

New Mexico law does provide defendants with options when they feel that their rights were violated. These legal remedies may allow a defendant to correct an incorrect verdict, or start over with a new trial.

A motion for a new trial allows defendants to have their case heard by an entirely different jury. An appeal, on the other hand, is an official review of the (already determined) verdict and trial by the Court of Appeals.

Understanding the Motion for a New Trial

A new trial is considered reexamination of the issue, but it is heard in the same court; therefore, it is not heard by the Court of Appeals.

The trial is set in front of a new jury after a verdict is already granted. The motion for the new trial is requesting a second hearing, and a second chance for the defendant.

The circumstances for seeking a new trial are not often met, but include:

  • A trial that was executed during the absence of the accused that was outside what the law permits;
  • The jury received evidence out of court to come to their conclusion;
  • Jury misconduct occurred;
  • A critical error by the court occurred;
  • Prosecutorial misconduct;
  • Destruction of the trial records;
  • Lack of evidence;
  • Inefficient representation by counsel.

When the defendant can establish any of these conditions, then the courts may grant them a new trial. Sending in the motion is not enough. Instead, the defendant must prove that one of these instances occurred and prevented them from receiving a fair trial.

A new trial must be requested after the judgment has been entered against the defendant.

What is an Appeal?

An appeal is not a new trial; instead, the appellate court judges hear the facts of the case and the issues of law that granted the appeal. Then, they decide if the conviction should be overturned or if the sentence from the lower court remains.

Grounds for appeal are based solely on fact, and the defendant or his or her attorney must prove that the law was violated in some way to receive an appeal.

Do You Feel Your Case Did Not Receive a Proper Trial? Contact an Attorney

If you think that your case did not provide you with a fair trial by your peers, or you feel that your rights were violated during the process, you may be entitled to file a motion for a new trial or request an appeal. Speak with a criminal defense attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today by calling 505-200-2982 or requesting more information online.