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Don’t Forget the Motion for New Trial!


Oftentimes, many people believe once the jury returns the verdict his or her case has come to a conclusion. This could not be further from the truth. Actually, after a jury verdict and after the sentence is imposed, this can be the beginning of an entirely new stage of the case. An important stage of the case-the appeal.

The Court of Criminal Appeals reviews mistakes that may have been made at the Trial Court level. However, a Defendant does not automatically get to appear in front of the Appellate Court to argue his or her case. There is a very important step in the process.

Once a sentence has been imposed and a Final Order entered at the Trial Court level, a Defendant has thirty (30) days to file a Motion for New Trial at the Trial Court level. Missing this very important window of time can be detrimental in the appellate process and may be grounds for post-conviction relief. If the Motion for New Trial is not filed, a Defendant may miss out on the opportunity to ask the Appellate Court to review the potential errors made by the Trial Court.

Importantly, the Motion for New Trial must contain all of the grounds the Defendant intends to raise on appeal. Failure to raise each ground/basis for a new trial, at the Trial Court level, may constitute waiver of the issue and a Defendant may be prohibited from later arguing the issue in front of the Appellate Court. We’ll spend more time on this topic in a later blog.

Tommy Santel is a co-founding partner of Santel | Garner. Tommy is a former government prosecutor. He is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 General Civil Mediator. Tommy’s practice areas include criminal defense and civil litigation.

This blog is made available by Santel | Garner for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a general overview of the law, not provide specific legal advice. By using this blog and website, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Santel | Garner . This blog and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.