If you are convicted of a crime after a jury trial, you have a right to appeal the judgment of the court. You may also have a right to appeal in certain limited circumstances if you pled guilty before trial. There are two kinds of appeals: direct appeals and writs. A direct appeal is always taken directly after the lower (trial) court has reached a judgment. The deadline for filing a direct appeal is 30 days on a misdemeanor case and 60 days on a felony case. A writ can be taken before a judgment is entered, such as when a motion to dismiss the case is denied. Writs can also be taken after the deadline for an appeal has expired, or after a direct appeal is denied.
In a direct appeal, first the court record on appeal is certified to the court of appeal. This usually involves having the court reporter forward a copy of the trial transcript to the court of appeal.
Once the transcript is certified, the appellate attorney must identify an appealable issue in the case, and then research and prepare an opening brief. Opening briefs typically are lengthy, well researched documents. An opening brief can be anywhere from twenty to one hundred pages in length, and may require hundreds of hours of research.
After the opening brief is filed, then the prosecution will file its response. The prosecution’s response will typically occasion the need for further research, and for the appellate attorney to file a reply brief.
Once the case is fully briefed, then the court may schedule oral argument, or it may decide the case without argument.
The Court of Appeal can issue several different kinds of relief. The court can modify a sentence or a judgment. The court can order a resentencing, or the court can order a new trial.
If you or a loved one has been convicted, and an appeal needs to be filed, do not delay. You may be losing valuable rights. Contact an experienced attorney immediately.