How to Appeal Convictions: Time Limits and Conditions of Appeals

Defendants found guilty and convicted of a crime may seek an appeal of the conviction or the sentence. This is applicable when a defendant or defense counsel believes an error was made during the trial.

Florida laws state that while defendants have the right to appeal, the process must adhere to certain terms and conditions. The appeal must be made within a specified timeframe and seek to address errors that negatively impacted the trial outcome.

How to Initiate an Appeal of a Conviction

Those wishing to appeal a conviction or sentence must act quickly. The deadline to file a Notice of Appeals after conviction is typically 30 days. The defendant also must pay any filing fees associated with the appeal. In some cases, the fees may be several hundred dollars. This will then set the appeals process into motion.

Understanding the Limitations of the Florida Appeals Process

The appeals process serves to review a trial court’s decisions. The main purpose of an appeal is to determine whether a “harmful legal error” occurred during the trial. An appeal is not a second trial and doesn’t provide the defendant with a second chance to present a case in its entirety.

What circumstances might allow for an appeal?

A defendant may seek an appeal in cases where a harmful legal error – or trial court error – is believed to have occurred. Some examples of trial error may include: 

  • the jury didn’t receive proper instructions from the judge;
  • motions to continue a trial or suppress evidence were denied (this applies in cases where the law required granting the motion); and
  • the terms of a sentence exceed those outlined by Florida laws.

These are just a few examples of trial error. A defendant’s belief that a sentence is “too harsh” or doesn’t meet his or her expectations is not a viable cause for appeal.

If you have been convicted of a crime and believe there were critical errors in your trial, contact a defense attorney. Call (877) 663-5110.