Chicago and DuPage County Criminal Appeals Lawyer

"Guilty" Does Not Have To Be The Final Word

If your trial resulted in a "guilty" verdict, you may feel that you are out of options. Perhaps your attorney informed you that you don't have the legal grounds to seek a criminal appeal, or maybe you have been told that you have exhausted all of your appellate remedies. At Dvorak Law Offices, LLC we know that you may still have options. Not every criminal defense attorney has the ability, experience and skill to represent clients in criminal appeals. Attorney Richard Dvorak does. His depth of knowledge and experience enables him to analyze clients' cases and identify the most effective course of action, whether that means filing a direct appeal, a post-conviction petition or habeas corpus petition. Perhaps when none of these remedies are available, a governors' pardon or commutation is the best method of overturning your conviction.

Experienced Advocacy In Criminal Appeals

When seeking to appeal your criminal conviction, you need a lawyer who not only knows the law and the appellate process, but also one who can write your appeal with the eloquence and sophistication required to make a persuasive argument. With a background in journalism and as the author of many well-known and frequently cited legal articles and treatises, attorney Richard Dvorak has the skills necessary to make an effective argument on you or your loved one's behalf. His thorough research and excellent writing skills are highly respected by his peers, the courts and the legal community.


Exploring Your Options Following A Conviction

Mr. Dvorak's experience in criminal appellate law includes filing briefs before the United States Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois appellate courts. He represents clients in all of the following:

Direct Criminal Appeals

A state or federal appellate court will only consider evidence that was presented at your original trial in a direct criminal appeal. This sort of appeal allows you to make a case for wrongful conviction based on procedural errors that occurred at trial or simply the lack of evidence needed to support the conviction. During an initial consultation, Mr. Dvorak will outline the grounds for an appeal to help you understand if you have a case.

Post-Conviction Petitions

Unlike a direct appeal, post-conviction petitions are designed to address issues that were not presented at the trial or direct appeals stages. Post-conviction petitions allow a criminal defendant to present newly discovered evidence, or evidence that was not presented at trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel. A post-conviction petition also allows a criminal defendant to raise issues that were not presented during the direct appeal, due to ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.

Federal Habeas Corpus Petitions

When a criminal defendant exhausts his or her appeal at the state level, a federal habeas corpus petition allows for the federal courts to get involved in addressing the fairness of a criminal conviction, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Illinois Appellate Courts, swamped with criminal defense appeals, sometimes do not adequately address the constitutionality of the issues raised on appeal, and sometimes they just simply get it wrong. Click to read more/read less

Governors' Pardons & Commutations

When the courts have denied all of your appeals, you may be out of options as far as having a court overturn your conviction or reduce your sentence. A Governor's Pardon or Commutation allows you to appeal to the Governor's mercy and sense of fairness so that you can have your conviction pardoned, or your sentence commuted. A Governor's Pardon is especially useful in addressing old convictions, especially where you can show you have turned your life around, and are deserving of a second chance.

Examples of Mr. Dvorak's Success in Criminal Appeals

*Please note that the names of our clients are listed as initials to protect their privacy.

Confession Not Surpressed

Attempt Kidnapping/Confession Should Have Been Suppressed

People of the State of Illinois v. K.G. (2016) – In the Illinois Appellate Court, Third Judicial District. The client was convicted of attempt kidnapping, among other charges, and sentenced to six years in prison. He was represented by a different attorney in the trial court. In the lower court, the judge denied the client’s motion to suppress his confession. On appeal, Mr. Dvorak was able to convince the appellate court that the judge’s ruling was in error, and the conviction was overturned.

Jury Instruction

Denial of a Defense Jury Instruction

People of the State of Illinois v. J.M. (2012) — In the Illinois Appellate Court, Third Judicial Circuit. The client was charged with felony driving on a suspended license, and represented by another attorney in the trial court. The attorney asked for an instruction on the affirmative defense of necessity, but the judge refused to give the instruction, the client was convicted, and was sentenced to three years in prison. On appeal, Attorney Richard Dvorak convinced the appellate court that the trial judge committed reversible error in refusing to give the jury instruction, and thus the client's conviction was overturned.

Other-Crimes Evidence

Impermissible Admission of Other-Crimes Evidence

People v. S.S. (2007) — In the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial Circuit. The client was charged with bringing a large amount of heroin through customs at O'Hare Airport. On a previous occasion, something similar happened, but the tests on the package were inconclusive, and thus the defendant was let go. Over Mr. Dvorak's objection, the trial court let in the evidence and the client was convicted. On appeal, based on this issue, his conviction was overturned

Search And Seizure

Illegal Search And Seizure

People of the State of Illinois v. C.M. (2004) — In the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District. The client was charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to deliver, and delivery of a controlled substance in relation to an undercover sting operation. On appeal, Attorney Richard Dvorak convinced the appellate court that the search and seizure of the client and the drugs was illegal. The State appealed the case to the Illinois Supreme Court, but the Court refused to hear the State's appeal. The drug charges were dismissed against the client.

Do You Have Grounds For a Criminal Appeal?

The criminal justice system in the United States is flawed. Mistakes happen — justice is not always served. Errors can happen at any trial stage that can potentially change someone's life forever. At Dvorak Law Offices, LLC, we are committed to uncovering trial errors that affect the outcome of criminal trials. Attorney Richard Dvorak has extensive experience appealing convictions if our clients' constitutional rights were violated or substantial procedural errors were made. A criminal conviction can be reversed or overturned based on the following grounds:

  • Evidence obtained illegally
  • Improper admission or exclusion of evidence
  • Discovery of new evidence
  • Juror misconduct
  • Unclear jury instructions
  • Failure to follow proper courtroom procedures
  • Unethical or ineffective legal assistance or counsel
  • Unethical measures taken by the prosecution
  • Sentencing errors


If you or your loved one was found guilty, not all hope should be lost. Appellate attorney Richard Dvorak is highly skilled at combing through trial records to understand if his clients have grounds for an appeal. He will fight for your convictions to be reviewed, if your case was mishandled.

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