If I plead guilty in court, do I have any appeal rights?
Question Details: I was in a parked car in a apartment complex, police pulled up behind the car that I was not driving and I got a public intoxication charge. I'm 59 years old have had only 1 other infraction in my life. The judge gave me 180 days suspended, 1 year probation and a fine of $50 upfront with a $50 administrative fee and a $20 probation fee as well as an alcohol class at $400. Apparently, I should have gotten a lawyer. Is it too late?
It is very, very difficult to appeal a voluntary guilty plea--remember, you agreed to it, and said in court, on the record, that you understood and agreed to the plea--unless you can show some significant error, such as that the state (the prosecutor, that is) hid or kept from you information or documentation which they should have provided. Not having a lawyer is NOT grounds for an appeal, since it was your choice to not hire a lawyer--you could have hired one and there was nothing stopping you but your decision to not hire an attorney. Your own bad or unfortunate decision is never grounds for an appeal.
Also, appeals are expensive: even if you don't hire a lawyer for one, you have to buy and provide copies of the transcript of your court appearance, pay the filing fee--expect you will spend several hundred dollars at least for an appeal with much less than a 50-50 chance of winning (the vast majority of appeals do *not* work). And if you do hire an attorney for the appearl, it will cost several thousand dollars. And even if you appeal and win, that will most likely just invalidate the plea--you'll get a new trial date, and could end up with the same (or worse!) outcome in the end.