Direct Criminal Appeal

A direct criminal appeal is the process of taking a case to a higher reviewing court, often called the appellate court, to review errors committed by the trial court. Under Florida law, you have the right to appeal your case to a higher court after a guilty verdict following a bench or jury verdict.

After a trial, the court will file a judgment and sentence. You only have 30 days after the sentence is imposed to file a notice of appeal. If you appeal a misdemeanor case from county court, the appellate court is the circuit court. If you appeal a felony case from circuit court, the appellate court is the district court of appeals.

Along with the notice of appeal, you must also file a designation to the court reporter so that any transcripts can be prepared from pre-trial motion hearings and the trial itself. When the transcripts are ready, the court clerk will prepare the “record on appeal.”

When the record on appeal is ready, it triggers the due date for the defendant’s brief to be filed. Then the state has the opportunity to file a reply brief. The defendant gets the last word in a response brief.  In addition to the briefs, the appellate court might schedule oral arguments.

The relief that the appellate court can grant might include sending the case back to the trial court to take corrective action, conduct a new trial, or vacate the sentence exonerating the defendant.

After the appellate court makes a ruling, the party that receives the adverse ruling might decide to seek discretionary review by an even higher court, including the district court of appeals or the Florida Supreme Court. The discretionary review is reserved for cases involving an important issue or raising a constitutional question.

The direct appeal focused on the information within the four corners of the record, particularly errors by the trial court when permitting evidence over an objection or excluding the evidence or testimony proffered by the defendant.

Attorney for a Direct Criminal Appeal in Florida

The criminal defense attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent clients during a direct appeal after a bench or jury trial in criminal court. We can help you file a motion for a new trial, file the notice of appeal and designation to the court reporter, file the initial brief, and make oral arguments on your behalf.

Contact us for a free and confidential consultation to discuss a direct criminal appeal. We are also experienced in representing clients with various post-conviction issues.

Visit our main office in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County. We have additional offices in New Port Richey in Pasco County and Clearwater in Pinellas County, FL.

We can help you fight for justice in your case. Call 813-250-0500.

This article was last updated on Friday, May 11, 2019.