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Procedure for Appeals

What is the procedure for an Appeal?

The first step in filing an Appeal is timely filing the Notice of Appeal.

In a Felony, Notice of Appeal must be filed within 60 days of Entry of Judgment.  In a Misdemeanor, it must be filed within 30 days of Entry of Judgment. In a Juvenile matter, an Appeal must be filed within 60 days of Judgment.

For Criminal cases, judgment is entered when the Defendant is sentenced or the case is dismissed.  For Juvenile cases, judgment is the Referee’s Order.

If the Defendant waits more than 30 days in a Misdemeanor or 60 days in a Felony, the Appellate Court loses all jurisdiction to hear their case. That means your right to Appeal disappears.  Don’t delay. Call us today to discuss what we need to do to file your Appeal.

The next step is that the Record on Appeal must be “designated”. This is done by identifying when the case was heard, so a transcript can be prepared.  Alternately, the Parties may proceed by carrying a Settled Statement. This means the parties agree to describe what happened relative to the issues being appealed.

The Defendant can also apply for Bail, while the Appeal is pending.  This is usually granted in Misdemeanors, or in Felonies where there is Probation and less than a year of Jail imposed.  Bail only stops the jail portion of the sentence, not the other requirements (like reporting to Probation).

Once the Record is prepared, the Appellate Court issues a briefing schedule.  The person who filed the Appeal presents their brief first and then presents again, after the opposition. The Prosecutor opposing the Appeal presents their opposition in the middle.  The Appellate Court may then ask for further briefing, if there is an issue it is unclear of, after all the papers are filed.

Once the matter has been fully briefed, the Appellate court will set the matter for oral argument. At this time both sides will have the opportunity to persuade the Justices of the merits of their case, in person.

The Court will then take the matter under submission and render a decision based on the briefs and oral argument. This can take anything from a few hours to a few weeks.

In California, the first Appeal is a right you have under our Constitution. If you’re still not happy with the decision of the Court, the next step is an Appeal to the California Supreme Court in Felonies, or to the Court of Appeal in Misdemeanors.  This Appeal is discretionary, which means the next level Court decides whether they want to hear your case.

If they decide to hear the case, then the procedure repeats itself ending with a deision at the next level Court.

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