MCFADDEN, P. J., RICKMAN and MARKLE, JJ.
Trenais Cooper appeals pro se from the trial court's
order denying his motion for leave to file an out of time
appeal. Upon review, we affirm the trial court's denial
of Cooper's motion.
record reveals that on August 31, 2017, Cooper entered a
non-negotiated plea of guilty to first degree home invasion,
aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon. He received a life sentence with 14 years to
serve and the remainder on probation. On April 5, 2018,
Cooper filed a pro se motion for leave to file an out of time
appeal. As grounds for an appeal, Cooper contended that the
indictment did not allege all the essential elements of the
crimes, that his plea was not knowing and voluntary because
he was not informed he would be waiving his right against
self-incrimination, and that plea counsel was ineffective for
failing to challenge the indictment, failing to familiarize
himself with the law in relation to the plea, and failing to
fully apprise Cooper of the rights he was waiving by pleading
guilty. The trial court denied the motion, and Cooper filed
entered a guilty plea, Cooper has no unqualified right to a
direct appeal. See Lewis v. State, 326 Ga.App. 529,
530 (757 S.E.2d 170) (2014).
Out-of-time appeals are designed to address the
constitutional concerns that arise when a criminal defendant
is denied his first appeal of right because the counsel to
which he was constitutionally entitled to assist him in that
appeal was professionally deficient in not advising him to
file a timely appeal and that deficiency caused prejudice. .
. . Thus, an out-of-time appeal is appropriate when a direct
appeal was not taken due to ineffective assistance of
(Citations and punctuation omitted.) Stephens v.
State, 291 Ga. 837, 837-838 (2) (733 S.E.2d 266) (2012).
In order to obtain an out-of-time appeal, Cooper must show
that the issues he seeks to appeal can be resolved by facts
appearing on the record and that his failure to seek a timely
appeal was the result of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Clark v. State, 299 Ga.App. 558, 559 (683 S.E.2d 93)
(2009). If the issues cannot be resolved from the existing
record, Cooper would have had no right to file even a timely
direct appeal and, therefore, is also not entitled to an
out-of-time appeal. See Morrow v. State,
266 Ga. 3, 4 (463 S.E.2d 472) (1995). Claims which require an
expanded record must be pursued in a habeas corpus petition.
See id. We will affirm the trial court's ruling if it is
clear from the record that the issues lack merit, and we
"review a trial court's denial of a motion for an
out-of-time direct appeal for an abuse of discretion."
(Citation omitted.) Clark, 299 Ga.App. at 559.
argues that his indictment was void because it did not charge
all the essential elements of the crimes alleged. This
argument can be resolved against Cooper on the face of the
Cooper pleaded guilty, "he waived all defenses except
that the indictment charged no crime." Kemp v.
Simpson, 278 Ga. 439, 439-440 (603 S.E.2d 267) (2004).
The indictment alleged that Cooper entered the victim's
home without her permission and with the intent to commit an
aggravated assault against her, and that he pointed a handgun
at her. Because Cooper could not admit those allegations and
be innocent of all crimes, his challenge to the sufficiency
of the indictment is without merit. Accordingly, Cooper is
not entitled to an appeal on this ground.
Next, Cooper contends that the trial court violated Uniform
Superior Court Rule 33.8 ("USCR") by accepting
Cooper's guilty plea without ensuring that he had been
advised of the elements of the charges against him. This
argument, too, can be resolved against Cooper based on the
33.8 (A) provides that the trial court should not accept a
guilty plea without first determining that the defendant
understands the nature of the charges against him. Similarly,
the United States Supreme Court has held that a guilty plea
"cannot be truly voluntary unless the defendant
possesses an understanding of the law in relation to the
facts." (Citations omitted.) Raheem v. State,
333 Ga.App. 821, 827 (2) (777 S.E.2d 496) (2015). This
principle, however, "does not require the trial court to
personally inform the accused of the elements of the crime to
which he is pleading guilty." (Footnote omitted.)
Id. Indeed, "where, as here, the defendant has
legal representation, a presumption arises that defense
counsel routinely explained the nature of the offense in
sufficient detail to give the accused notice of what he is
being asked to admit." (Citation and punctuation
omitted.) Tomlin v. State, 295 Ga.App. 369, 372 (2)
(671 S.E.2d 865) (2008).
the transcript of the plea hearing reveals that the
prosecutor identified the charges against Cooper and the
range of punishments he faced. The prosecutor also summarized
the factual basis for the charges, reciting that Cooper
kicked in the door to his ex-girlfriend's apartment, put
a gun to her head, threatened to kill her, and beat her. The
victim's neighbors called 911 and the responding officers
found Cooper in the parking lot, with the victim's blood
on his pants and several of her belongings in his car. The
prosecutor then identified the rights Cooper would waive by
pleading guilty. After confirming that Cooper understood the
rights he would waive, the prosecutor reiterated the charges
against Cooper and the associated penalty ranges. Cooper
indicated that he understood the charges, that the facts
recited by the prosecutor were true and correct, that he was
satisfied with the representation he had received from his
attorney, and that he wanted to plead guilty. Under these
circumstances, there is no merit to Cooper's argument
that he was not made aware of the nature of the charges
Cooper contends that his guilty plea is invalid because he
was not properly advised of his rights pursuant to Boykin
v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (89 S.Ct. 1709, 23 L.Ed.2d 274)
(1969). Again, the record shows that this argument can be
resolved against Cooper.
requires the State to show that a defendant was informed of
the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, the
right to a trial by jury, and the right to confront one's
accusers in order to establish that the defendant's
guilty plea was voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently
made." (Citation omitted). Burns v.State, 291 Ga. 547 (1) (a) (731 S.E.2d 681) (2012).
Before accepting a guilty plea, the trial court has a
"duty to establish that the defendant understands the