When you go through the trial process, you count on the professionals to make the right decision. Even if the verdict is not in your favor, you hope that they will be able to apply the law correctly to the facts of your case.

The courtroom, however, is full of people, and people make mistakes. Whether you are facing a judge or a jury, there is a chance that the people who decided your case made a mistake when it was time to apply the law to the facts.

Here’s what it takes for a mistake of law to be grounds for an appeal of your trial.

What is a mistake of law?

During your trial, both sides present their cases. They give a presentation of what happened, what the law is on that subject and why that law does or does not apply to your case.

After hearing arguments from both sides, it is up to the judge to look at what the law is and figure out what should happen next. When a judge comes to the wrong conclusion, that is a mistake of law.

Mistakes of law are rare

Most often, if there is a mistake, it is considered a “harmless error” because the result of the case would have been the same either way.

When there is an error in how a judge applied the law to the facts, most often the appeal will be a complete review of the case. The appeals court will look at the law and the facts as though there was never a trial in the first place.