Under most state and federal laws, a criminal conviction isn’t necessarily the end of the road. You still have options, and if you believe you were wrongly convicted, a criminal appeal should be pursued. But it’s essential to understand the process, including how long an appeal can take.
To protect your legal rights and for the best possible outcome, you need an experienced appeals attorney. The Southern California criminal appeals law firm, Spolin Law, P.C., understands the process and how to effectively argue on your behalf.
Timeline for Appeals
The criminal justice system is not only controlled by laws, but also by rules and procedures. The rules of criminal procedure set forth how criminal trials are conducted, so they are fair and protect your rights.
If there is a conviction, there are also rules that apply to appeals. These rules establish deadlines by which certain actions must be taken.
For example, after a criminal conviction in the Superior Court of Orange County, you must file:
- Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the date of the judgment or order if a misdemeanor.
- Notice of Appeal — Felony (Defendant) within 60 days of the date of the judgment or order if a felony.
There are some appeal options with longer deadlines, and a court might be willing to accept a late notice of appeal depending on extenuating circumstances.
Failure to file your notice of appeal by the appropriate deadlines could mean that no matter how strong your case is to overturn your conviction, you may not be allowed to proceed. That’s why it is vital to seek legal help from one of our appeals attorneys.
Such quick deadlines to file a notice of appeal might suggest the appeals process won’t take long. But that is likely not the case. Once a notice to appeal is filed, a lawyer can request more time from the court to thoroughly review your case so that we can make all the arguments we find to win your appeal.
After Filing Your Notice of Appeal
After we file your Notice of Appeal, we can file motions for bail or release. If you meet certain criteria, the law gives you the opportunity to be released with or without bail pending appeal of your conviction.
Winning your release pending appeal is important because appeals cases can take one to two years to resolve. By being free during that time, you may be able to resume working and caring for your personal matters while your legal issues are resolved.
While your appeal is ongoing, we will be working on the legal arguments that could result in a successful result. We do this by scouring the record, including the transcripts of your criminal trial. As part of the appeals process, the Superior Court must compile and turn over transcripts of the court reporter and clerk. All documents and exhibits from those proceedings also must be given to your appeals counsel.
After a review of the record where we will find your grounds for overturning your conviction, we will file an “Opening Brief” to explain to the court the reason for your appeal. This is a lengthy procedure, and it’s important you stay in contact at every step in the process.
The prosecution is then allowed to respond. After that, we may have an additional filing, called a “Reply Brief,” which must be filed within so many days of the prosecution’s response.
Once the briefing of your case is completed, we may have an oral argument before the court, and then the court will decide the case. If we aren’t satisfied with the resulting decision, there are additional options, and all of these have deadlines as well.
Don’t Delay if You Need Help with an Appeal
Appealing your criminal conviction is a complex matter that requires experienced attorneys. If you fail to meet certain deadlines, you may not have a chance to appeal and be stuck with the consequences of your conviction. Those consequences could include incarceration, fines, and a permeant criminal record.