How Much does a Criminal Appeal Cost in Michigan?

FAQs: How much does a criminal appeal cost?

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FAQs About Michigan Criminal Appeals

About Michigan Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Services Attorney Fees

The law prohibits attorneys from filing frivolous lawsuits, and attorneys that abuse the legal system are subject to sanctions and penalties. Federal law, Title, 28, Section 1927 states "conduct that, viewed objectively, manifests either intentional or reckless disregard of the attorney's duties as officers of the court" may result in sanctions and penalties which can include paying for the cost of litigation.

You can trust in our integrity—if we feel your case does not have grounds for an appeal, we will tell you.

Hiring an additional attorney may seem like yet another legal expense; however, an experienced appellate lawyer may be able to help you get a reduced sentence, new trial, record expungement, or improve the outcome of your conviction in some other way. Each case is different, and we determine our fees in accordance with the level of offense and time your case will require. To help you have easier access to quality legal representation, our fees are reasonable and our law firm accepts all major credit cards.

We also invite you to contact our attorneys for a free initial consultation to discuss your case, legal options and possible outcomes, as well as fees involved.

An Unfair Decision Comes at a Higher Cost than Hiring an Attorney for an Appeal

If you have been convicted of a crime you are not guilty of, or received an unfair sentence because your rights were violated, or the law was not applied properly in your case, you have not received justice. Judges and juries are human and can make mistakes. That is why we have an appellate system. The appellate courts act as supervisory courts and review decisions to make sure that justice was served.

With the advances made in collecting and processing forensic evidence, we often read about cases of innocent people being sent to prison for many years only to be cleared later by DNA evidence. People have also been convicted of crimes, including rape, without any physical evidence, based on the testimony of traumatized victims. Even though the law is clear that a prosecutor must prove someone is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” legal errors and human errors—and even bias, can lead to a guilty verdict even when there may be considerable doubt.

As with any system, sometimes, our justice system fails and the defendant’s outcome is not fair or based on solid legal principles. When this happens, there is still another avenue the defense attorney can use to help a client—the appeal.

Associated Costs of an Appeal

There are multiple costs associated with all appeals. These include:

  • Attorney Fees: Most appellate lawyers charge an hourly rate for their services relating to criminal appeals. Fees include time involved in obtaining, researching, and reviewing records, as well as time involved to file applications, motions, and briefs. Appeals may also involve appearing in court to present oral arguments. Other associated costs include copying documents, mailing documents and correspondence, phone calls, and travel time.
  • Court Fees: All court fees are set by statute under Michigan Criminal Law 600.321 (see below). Most attorneys require a retainer upfront to cover future costs associated with handling your case. Parties are required to file five copies of all briefs with the Court of Appeals.
  • Waiver of Court Fees: If a defendant is indigent and cannot afford an attorney, and is entitled to an appeal, they can make a request to certain court costs be waived.

600.321 Fees to court of appeals; charge per page; waiver; deposit; costs. Sec. 321. states:

  1. The following fees shall be paid to the clerk of the court of appeals and may be taxed as costs if costs are allowed by order of the court:

    1. For an appeal as of right, for an application for leave to appeal, or for an original proceeding, $375.00. This fee shall be paid only once for appeals that are taken by multiple parties from the same lower court order or judgment and can be consolidated.

    2. Upon the entry of any motion except a motion described in subdivision (c) upon the motion docket, $100.00.

    3. Upon the entry of a motion for immediate consideration or a motion to expedite appeal upon the motion docket, $200.00. This fee shall be paid only once regardless of the number of lower court files involved in the appeal. A prosecuting attorney is exempt from paying a fee under this subdivision with regard to an appeal arising out of a criminal proceeding.

  2. The clerk of the court of appeals shall charge 50 cents per page for certified copies of entries or papers in any action or proceedings when required for any other purpose than one connected with the progress or disposition of the action or proceeding.

  3. The clerk shall charge 50 cents per page for all uncertified copies of opinions, except those sent to one counsel representing each party in the case, for which no charge shall be made.

  4. If a person is unable to pay the fees required by this section, the person, by motion, accompanied by the person's affidavit stating facts showing that inability, may ask the court to waive the fees and the court or a judge of the court may waive payment of the fees.

  5. Each month the clerk of the court of appeals shall deposit with the state treasurer all fees collected and obtain and file a receipt for the fees deposited.

  6. Costs shall be awarded in the discretion of the court.

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