What To Know About The Appeals Process In Florida Criminal Cases
Hearing the word “Guilty” at the end of a trial is what every Florida criminal defendant fears. Months of anxiety and tension lead to a devastating verdict and likely jail time. The question, then, is what comes next for a person that feels they may be out of options.
In criminal cases, a defendant does have a right to appeal their verdict if they believe it was unjust or based on error. Criminal appeals are inherent rights given to defendants when their liberty is on the line. Provided that they follow proper procedures and meet certain deadlines, a defendant can have their case reviewed by a Florida appeals court.
There is no time to waste once a verdict has been entered, however. In Florida, defendants must file an appeal within thirty days of a conviction if they choose to appeal. Notice to appeal would be filed by a defendant in the trial court along with the appropriate filing fee. The trial court then sends the formal request to an appellate court and the appellate process begins.
What Can a Defendant Appeal in Florida?
Under Rule 9.140(b)(1) of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, a defendant can appeal:
- a final judgment of guilt;
- a final order that withholds adjudication after a guilty verdict;
- an order granting probation or community control, or both.
- orders entered after a final judgment or finding of guilt. This includes orders to revoke or modify probation or community control, or orders to deny relief under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a), 3.801, 3.802, 3.850, 3.851, or 3.853;
- a sentence that is alleged to be unlawful or improper;
- a sentence, when the appeal is required or permitted by general law; or
- “as otherwise provided by general law.”
Chapter 924 of the Florida Statutes describes additional parameters for appeals in Florida criminal cases – including how certain issues can be “preserved” for appeal and other steps involved after a verdict is entered.
In addition to post-verdict appeals, a defendant can appeal rulings made during the course of a trial through what is known as an “interlocutory appeal”. These appeals request that the appellate court review a specific issue of law ruled on during the case – while the trial is still pending. These are not often granted, however, and exist only for extraordinary situations where the defendant believes a ruling was made erroneously and can produce an unjust outcome in the trial.
Something for defendants to remember is that they can only appeal issues of law or fact that were raised during the case itself. A defendant cannot, generally, file an appeal based on a new argument or interpretation of law after the case ended. (Newly discovered evidence is a strong exception to this rule, however.)
During a criminal trial, it is critical that defendants preserve contested issues for appeal by filing proper motions at the pretrial phase, or making timely objections during the trial. For these reasons, it is essential that a criminal defendant have skilled and competent legal counsel during their trial. A good criminal defense lawyer will lay the groundwork for a potential appeal if the verdict does not go as hoped for.
The Orlando Criminal Defense Attorneys at Joshi Law Firm, PA Understand Florida’s Laws and Can Utilize the Appeals Process to Your Advantage.
Appealing a guilty verdict in a Florida criminal case is a complex but critical step defendants can take if they believe a mistake of law or fact affected their trial. The Orlando criminal lawyers at Joshi Law Firm understand the importance of having a fair trial and maintaining the right to appeal if mistakes were made. Due to the strict deadlines and procedural issues involved, only a proven and experienced criminal defense lawyer should help in your appeal. If you have any questions about your case, our legal team is available to help.