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What Is The California Criminal Appeals Process?


Once you’re found guilty of a crime, a judge will inform you that you have 60 days to file an appeal. If you don’t file an appeal within that time frame, then you will lose the ability to file an appeal.

Once you  file the appeal notice, you will be appointed counsel if you cannot afford an attorney yourself. It is important to talk to your trial lawyer about whether or not they feel that you have an appealable issue.

One of the main grounds for appeal is damaging and prejudicial evidence at trial that never should have been let in by the judge. Other grounds for appeal include jurors doing things that they are not supposed to do and  judges giving jury instructions that they are not supposed to.

There’s a whole host of different angles that could be used in order to begin the appeals process in Los Angeles or any other county in California.

Are There Differences Between Misdemeanor and Felony Appeals Processes In California?

Someone who has been convicted of a felony will generally have more rights to an appeal than someone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor.

California Criminal Appeals Process

After you are found guilty of a crime in California, you have 60 days to file an appeal.

However, a person has a right to a jury trial and an appeals process—regardless of whether they’ve received a felony or misdemeanor conviction.

The judge will tell you how long you have to file a notice of appeal, and then you have to decide whether or not you want to litigate your own appeal or have the government appoint an attorney for you.

Obviously, you want to hire your own appellate lawyer if you want the best chance of success.

Typically, the trial attorney will be the one who is in charge of filing the notice of appeal on your behalf, and then they will hand it off to the appellate lawyer.

I often receive calls from appellate lawyers who are trying to get information about a particular case; this is something your trial lawyer would be responsible for handling in both a felony and misdemeanor case.

Can Any Type Of Conviction For Any Crime Be Appealed In California?

If you are convicted by a jury and sentenced by a judge, you have the right to begin the appellate process.

You would have to file the notice of appeal within a certain amount of time and be prepared to litigate the appeal, either by yourself, with a private lawyer, or with a government-appointed lawyer if you can prove that you are indigent and cannot afford to hire your own appellate lawyer.

In order to be successful on an appeal in California, you are going to want to have grounds for the appeal, and you don’t want to have some sort of an angle where you did not get a fair trial in your criminal case.

If you don’t have a good appellate issue, then you are essentially wasting your time and spinning your wheels. Ask your attorney whether there may be an appellate issue in your case.

Alternatively, you can hire an appellate lawyer who will likely talk to your attorney about it, review the transcript from the trial, and help you decide whether it is worth the time and effort to move forward with an appeal.

Do I Have To Wait A Certain Amount Of Time Before Filing An Appeal In CA?

The only requisite for filing an appeal is that you first have to be sentenced. Once the judge sentences you, you can file a notice of appeal.

You will need to decide whether or not you are going to represent yourself, hire your own lawyer, or have a lawyer appointed to you by the state.

Can Any Type Of Conviction For Any Crime Be Appealed In California?

If you are convicted by a jury and sentenced by a judge, you have the right to begin the appellate process.

Whoever handles the appeal for you will obtain the trial transcript and identify any issues that might be grounds for an appeal.

If I file an appeal, can I get out of jail or prison while awaiting the appellate court decision?

Your attorney can file a motion with the judge who heard the trial in a criminal case and ask that you be released while the appeal is ongoing.

If you are already in custody at the time of the case, then you probably won’t be released pending an appeal. If you are already out of custody, then you can try to make the motion that you should be allowed to remain out of custody while the appeals process is ongoing.

As a criminal defendant in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, you could be sentenced to prison or jail.

If this occurs, then the judge will want you to begin serving your sentence right away rather than wait through a lengthy appeals process.

This is because the prosecutors and victims will feel that justice is not being served if you do not have to serve your sentence during a lengthy appeals process.

In my experience, it’s very difficult to convince a judge to allow someone in a criminal case to remain out of custody during the appeals process.

What Can Be Done If We Lose The Appeal?

If the appeals process is unsuccessful, then you can go to the next level of court in California, which is the 9th Circuit. Of course, there is the United States Supreme Court as well. There are remedies to losing an initial appeal, but they are case-specific.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 374-3952.

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About the Author

Named Top Los Angeles Criminal Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 criminal defense attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.

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