Appeals are costly and statistically few appeals of criminal convictions are successful. Only rarely will an appellate court reverse a conviction on the grounds that the evidence was not sufficient for the jury to convict. Successful appeals are those which establish that serious errors of law were committed at trial and that these errors either violated rights guaranteed by a constitution or were so serious that an acquittal was probable had the error not occurred.
A competent criminal defense lawyer knows that most defendants are convicted at trial and, accordingly, starts to consider and identify appellate issues at the outset of his or her representation. Under virtually all circumstances, a defendant who claims on appeal that a serious error occurred in the trial court must demonstrate to the appeals court that the trial judge was informed of this error when it occurred and was given an opportunity to correct it or to minimize its impact.