How does an appeal get started after a conviction?
After a trial or a plea, there has to be a sentencing hearing, at which time the judge will enter a judgment and sentence. That ends the trial case. At that point, a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of that date. No ifs, ands, or buts - if the appeal is not filed within that time, the appellate court will not have jurisdiction, and the appeal will not take place.
Can I appeal if I entered a plea?
Not unless you file a motion to correct sentence, or a motion to withdraw your plea. If you enter a plea, you are telling the court you want to end your case. Once the plea is entered, it's presumed that you accept the sentence and the case is over. You have to have SOMETHING to appeal. If you filed a motion to dismiss or suppress before you plea, and that motion was denied, you can appeal SO LONG as you have specifically reserved the right to appeal. If no motion was filed, and you are not satisfied with your plea/sentence, then you have to file some motion and have the judge act on it in order to have something to appeal.
Where does the appeal get heard, in other words, what court handles the appeal?
The appellate, or higher, court handles the appeal. It is not heard in front of the trial judge.
Do I get to go to court for the appeal? Are there hearings like in a criminal trial case?
If you or your loved one is in custody, no. Appeals are almost all done by paper filings. If there is an oral argument granted (where the appellate court actually wants to hear from the lawyers), there will be one court date, and anyone is welcome to attend. Prisoners are NOT transported for oral arguments.
How long does the appeal process take?
Generally, about a year to a year and a half.
Do I get to see the brief before you file it?
I will have conferences with the appellant (my client) as the brief is being prepared, but generally I do not send it to the client for review before I file it. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.
What does the attorney look at when preparing the appeal?
The court file, and any transcripts of hearings or trials.
How much does an appeal cost?
There are filing fees with the appellate court, and costs of preparation of the record. If the actual defendant/appellant has no money, there are times when the State of Florida will pay those costs. My attorney's fees are calculated on a case-by-case basis, depending on the complexity of the appeal, the issues, whether it was a short hearing or a long trial, etc.
May I see a brief that you have filed in an appeal?
We have sample briefs posted on TallahasseeCriminalDefense.com here.
What are some examples of cases you have won on appeal?
Suffice it to say, not every appeal is winner. However, we have won appeals in courts all over Florida, and the opinons can be found on this page.