Whether you have been wrongfully convicted of a crime, or you want to try and overturn a decision made in a civil case based on negligence, there are times when you need to appeal a court decision. Some people are hesitant to start the appeals process because they are concerned about how long it will take. This is no reason to avoid seeking the justice you deserve. An appellate lawyer can help you through the process and advise on how long your appeal may take.
The Length of an Appeal in State Court vs. in Federal Court
The length of any appeal case depends on the merits and complexities of the case. It will also depend on the schedule of the court that will hear your appeal. Many people overlook the fact that all states have two different types of courts. The first is state court, while the second is federal court. If you are appealing your case in state court, the timeline is generally 14 to 24 months or even longer until you have a decision. In federal court, this time can be extended to two years or more.
Deadlines in the Appeals Process
An appeal can take a long time because the process is broken down into many different stages. These stages are as follows:
- Starting the appeals process: Starting the appeals process is the fastest stage. You may have as few as 21 days to start the appeals process in state court, while in federal court, that time is shortened to just 14 days.
- Reviewing the record: After you have started the appeals process, your appellate lawyer will obtain the court records, which include all of the transcripts from your hearings. This stage is one of the most important because your lawyer must thoroughly read the transcripts while looking for arguments to use in your case. After finding an argument, your lawyer will then prepare a brief outlining the reasons for your appeal. The deadline for submitting this brief in both state and federal courts is generally 40 days. Usually, the brief is submitted three to five months after the original decision is made in your case.
- The hearing: Once the judge has received the brief and reviewed it, a hearing is scheduled so the judge can hear oral arguments from both sides. This hearing is generally very short, so it is critical to work with an appellate lawyer that can help you make the most of it.
After oral arguments have been heard, the court will typically issue an opinion within a few weeks. If the court rules in your favor, the original decision will be overturned. In most cases, particularly when overturning decisions made in criminal court, a new trial is ordered.
Call Our Appellate Lawyers Today
The appeals process differs vastly from a trial, and it can take a long time before it is over. At The Appellate Law Firm, our experienced appellate attorneys can help you navigate the process and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 877.412.4786 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation.