Our lawyers help individuals and businesses prepare and present appeals for the greatest chances of success.

What is an Appeal?

If the court made a procedural or substantive error in deciding your case, you can appeal the decision, but you must start the process just a few months after the ruling.

The party that wants the appellate court to reverse (undo) the trial court’s ruling is called the appellant, and the other party (the one that won the original case) is called the appellee. The appellant’s lawyer drafts the appellants' opening brief, and the appellee, with their lawyer, tells their side in a response brief. Remember that the appellant is saying that the trial court’s decision was wrong, and the appellee is saying that it was right. The appellant then gets to write a reply brief, arguing against the response brief. Both sides then present oral arguments before the appeals court, each speaking for about 15 minutes.

When you file an appeal, showing that the trial court’s decision or handling of your case was wrong is only part of your task. You must also show that the trial court’s error was reversible, meaning that the law allows the appeals court to change it. This requires your lawyer to research case law about similar appeals to yours. If you are successful, the appeals court will issue an opinion reversing the trial court’s decision.

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Appeals Process

The deadlines are short for filing a notice of appeal in California civil cases. In limited civil cases, where the judgment is for $25,000 or less, you must file the notice of appeal no later than 30 days after the trial court filed the final judgment. If the case involved more than $25,000, then the deadline for filing a notice of appeal is 60 days after the trial court filed the final judgment. You may not file a notice of appeal before the trial court files its final judgment, but it is never too soon to talk to an appellate lawyer about preparing a notice of appeal.
The deadline for filing an appeal for criminal cases in California is 30 days after the criminal court has entered a final judgment. It is possible for a defendant to appeal a guilty verdict even after the jurors agreed that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; for example, the defendant can argue that they did not get a fair trial or that their rights to due process were violated. Defendants can appeal their sentence (for example, to get probation instead of prison) whether they pled guilty or were convicted at trial. Because of the “no double jeopardy” rule, the prosecution cannot appeal a not guilty verdict, but they can appeal a sentence to try to get a harsher one.
You have the right to appeal a guilty verdict or an unfairly harsh sentence if you were convicted at trial in a criminal court in Washington. Your right to appeal your sentence stands even if your conviction is due to a guilty plea and not due to a jury finding you guilty. For example, if the court handed down the maximum sentence for a nonviolent crime, and it was your first criminal conviction, you can argue that it is an unfairly harsh sentence. The prosecution can also appeal a decision by a criminal court, but not about verdicts; you cannot be tried again for a crime of which you have already been acquitted.
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Contact us today and begin the process of appealing a wrongful conviction or unjust civil court ruling.

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Our firm is hiring an attorney focused on Appeals

It is extremely important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable appellate attorney. Many trial attorneys make the profound mistake of waiting to contact appellate counsel until the trial court renders its adverse judgment. However, competent trial lawyers know that it is smart business to have appellate counsel advise how to preserve issues and evidence for possible appeal, while also helping to identify appealable issues in advance.

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