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How Do I File A Criminal Appeal In Florida?


Did you or your loved one receive an unfavorable verdict in a criminal case? If so, it is normal to be stressed out, frustrated, and even frightened. At the same time, it is important to understand that you are not necessarily out of options. You have the right to file an appeal in a criminal case. To do so, you must follow certain procedures. Here, our Orlando appellate law attorney provides an in-depth guide to filing a criminal appeal in Florida.

Many Adverse Decisions in Criminal Cases Can Be Appealed 

Technically speaking, you do not have the right to appeal every legal matter in Florida. However, most significant aspects of criminal cases can be appealed. The Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure (Rule 9.140(b)(1)) states that you can appeal the following:

  • A guilty verdict;
  • A probation order (even without a guilty verdict); and
  • A criminal sentence. 

You Must File a Timely Notice of a Criminal Appeal 

You have a very limited amount of time to appeal a criminal case in Florida. To initiate the appeals process, a defendant has to file a type of legal document called a Notice of Appeal. As a general rule, your Notice of Appeal in a criminal case in Florida must be filed within 30 days.

To be clear, the Notice of Appeal is not actually the entire appeal itself. Instead, it is proper notice that preserves your right to move forward with an appeal. A Notice of Appeal must meet certain procedural standards to be deemed valid in Florida. 

Know the Standard: An Appeal is Not a New Trial

Finally, it is important to emphasize that a criminal appeal is not a new trial. As described by the American Bar Association (ABA), bringing a successful criminal appeal requires establishing “a legal basis for the appeal of an alleged material error in the trial.”

Appellate courts are largely restricted on what they can review. They generally will not hear new evidence. Instead, appellate courts in criminal cases will review the trial to determine if a serious legal error or a misapplication of law occurred.

The key document in a criminal appeal is the appellate brief. In effect, the appellate brief if your opportunity to lay out your case, including what happened, why the trial was materially flawed, and what remedy is appropriate. An appellate brief should always be drafted by an attorney who has experience handling criminal appeals. These are highly technical legal documents.

Call Our Orlando Criminal Appeal Lawyer for Immediate Help

At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando appellate law attorney has the professional skills and legal expertise to handle the full range of criminal appeals. These are time-sensitive legal cases. If you are preparing to file a criminal appeal, we can help. Contact us for a confidential consultation. From our Orlando law office, we handle criminal appeals throughout Central Florida, including in Orange County, Osceola County, Seminole County, and Polk County.

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