Wrongfully Convicted In North Dakota?

A conviction in North Dakota is a life-changing moment. When you are sentenced, you may be required to spend a long time behind bars or pay costly fines worth thousands of dollars. However, just because the jury found you guilty, does not mean your fight for justice ends. Everyone has a right to appeal their conviction in order to get the decision overturned or a new trial.


If you believe you or a loved one has recently been wrongfully convicted in North Dakota, do not hesitate to reach out to our criminal appeal lawyer in Bismarck to examine your legal options, get your criminal conviction overturned, and help you regain your freedom.

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Our criminal appeal attorney in Bismarck, ND, Chad McCabe, has over 100 published appellate opinions and has won an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court in Raysor v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court Case No.: 11-8894). Our firm has the experience and compassion to guide you through the complexities of the appeals process and obtain the most favorable result in court.
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What Are The Grounds For Appeal In North Dakota?

If you think a legal error or mistake was made when you were convicted of a crime or sentenced, then you may be eligible to file a criminal appeal under North Dakota law. An appeal is a legal argument made to a higher court – such as the North Dakota Court Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court – that legal errors during the trial in lower court and such errors negatively affected your ability to obtain a fair legal outcome.

Keep in mind, any sort of error, irregularity, or defect that does not impact a defendant or their rights is considered a “harmless error.” Such errors do not have grounds for reversing a lower court’s judgment.

The following are the most common grounds for a criminal appeal:
Discovery of new evidence
Important evidence that was not discovered or unavailable until after trial, or overlooked.
Ineffective assistance of counsel
The defendant’s attorney’s performance was inadequate and the lawyer’s inadequacy impacted the result of the case.
Prosecutorial misconduct
The prosecution acted unfairly or unlawfully – such as admission of false testimony or intentional omission of favorable evidence for the defense – during the trial in lower court.
The weight of the evidence fails to support the verdict
The evidence presented at trial was legally insufficient to establish a guilty verdict.
Juror misconduct
Common examples include speaking to others about the case, withholding information during jury selection, and making a decision by lot or compromise.
Have you been wrongfully convicted? Contact McCabe Law Firm today at (701) 222-2500 or online to schedule a meeting.
Notable Published Cases:
  • Recognized Mistake of Fact Defense to the federal crime of Possession of a Stolen Firearm-U.S. v. Iron Eyes, 367 F.3d 781 (8th Cir.2004)
  • Established partial buttocks photo is not sexually explicit conduct under federal law- U.S. v. Gleich, 397 F.3d (8th Cir.2005)
  • Required Courts to make specific on-the-record determination that Defendants unequivocally, knowingly, and intelligently waived right to counsel- State v. Poitra, 1998 ND 88, 578 N.W.2d 121
  • Prompted Supreme Court to adopt rules authorizing ex parte applications to the Court for investigative, expert and related services- State v. Goulet, 1999 ND 80, 593 N.W.2d 345
  • Established that merely showing home owner took no affirmative actions to stop police from entering was not consent to enter- State v. Decoteau, 1999 ND 77, 592 N.W.2d 579
  • Established that magistrates at preliminary hearing have authority to judge credibility- State v. Foley, 2000 ND 91, 610 N.W.2d 49.
  • Expanded affirmative defense for drivers who did not receive notice of suspension- State v. Egan, 1999 ND 59, 591 N.W.2d 150.
  • Established presumption that probation commences on the date of sentencing- State v. Berger, 2002 ND 143, 651 N.W.2d 639
  • Recognized insanity defense as a mitigating factor in determining if probation should be revoked- State v. Olson, 2003 ND 23, 656 N.W.2d 650
  • Established procedures for fair restraining order hearings- Gullickson v. Kline, 2004 ND 76, 678 N.W.2d 138.
  • Required chemical test results be listed in license suspension paperwork- Jorgensen v. N.D.Dep’t of Transp., 2005 ND 80, 695 N.W.2d 212.
  • Required testimony rather than affidavits for restraining order hearings- Cusey v. Nagel, 2005 ND 84, 695 N.W.2d 697
  • Established 90 day mandatory sentence on injury DUI was illegal sentence in violation of the maximum penalty- State v. Smith, 2005 ND APP 5, 697 N.W.2d 368.
  • Established reasonable suspicion was an inadequate basis for police to transport package from shipping facility to the law enforcement center- State v. Ressler, 2005 ND 140, 701 N.W.2d 915.
  • Recognized the right to cross examine on specific acts of misconduct underlying a criminal conviction-State v. Hoverson, 2006 ND 49, 710 N.W.2d 890
  • Overturned convictions for intent to deliver cases within one thousand feet of a school- State v. Dennis, 2007 ND 87, 733 N.W.2d 241.
  • Established criteria for affirmative refusal of chemical test- Grosgebauer v. N.D. Dep’t of Transp., 2008 ND 75, 747 N.W.2d 510.
  • Required officer to testify about each and every step in blood collection to show scrupulous compliance and fair administration of blood testing- Schlosser v. N.D. Dep’t of Transp., 2009 ND 173, 775 N.W.2d 695.
  • Required Department to recreate the record with testimony to replace lost recording- Massett v. N.D. Dep’t of Transp., 2010 ND 211, 790 N.W.2d 481.
  • Established a bankruptcy schedule may be amended any time before the case is closed- Kost v. Kraft, 2011 ND 69, 795 N.W.2d 712.
  • Required State to produce nurse who drew blood sample- State v. Lutz, 2012 ND 156, 820 N.W.2d 111.
  • Established driver’s consent to a search of vehicle does not justify a search of a passenger’s purse- State v. Daniels, 2014 ND 124, 848 N.W.2d 670.
  • Cash sent did not justify search warrant for suspected proceeds from the drug sales- State v. Biwer, 2018 ND 185, 915 N.W.2d 837.
  • Established State has no jurisdiction to appeal evidentiary rulings- State v. Corona, 2018 ND 196, 916 N.W.2d 610.
  • Established there must be a valid request for testing before there can be a refusal- Alvarado v. N.D. Dep’t of Transp., 2019 ND 231, 932 N.W.2d 911.
  • Recognized affirmative defense of confusion for refusal cases- City of Bismarck v. King, 2019 ND 74, 924 N.W.2d 137.

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Filing an appeal is complex, which is why you need our experienced criminal appeal attorney in Bismarck, ND, to help you obtain the outcome and justice you deserve. We can listen to your story, build an effective and personalized appeals strategy, and protect rights and freedom from start to finish.