What is an Appeal?
The Appellate Rule of Procedure 9.140 sets forth the proceedings for appeals in the state of Florida. An appellate court’s main function is to determine whether a trial court committed legal error. Therefore, the appeals process is ensuring a fair process to every individual. However it can be a long and complicated process, and having experienced lawyer at your side can be crucial. Criminal appeals are often misunderstood, and not everyone needs or wants an appeal.
Do you want an Appeal?
There are cases where an appeal is not wanted or even possible, however there are still avenues to pursue post-conviction relief. That decision has to be made by you. It is always smart that you seek the advice of an experienced lawyer before you make such an important decision.
The Florida Process
You have 30 days from the date of the judgment and sentence to file an appeal.
In some cases, the person’s intention might be to request that the trial court reduce or modify their sentence. If you feel that the trial court missed certain information before sentencing you, then you can file a motion under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure. This asks for your sentence to be reduced or modified. You usually can’t appeal the denial of the motion for sentence reduction.
There are other cases the person’s intention might be to withdraw their plea. If there is a legal cause like an involuntary plea then you might file a motion asking the judge to withdraw your plea under the Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure. The motion has to be filled within 30 days of your sentence. If the court denies your motion, then you might be able to appeal.
If the 30 days for filing a Rule motion has lapsed, you can still file a motion to vacate the judgment and sentence under the rule. A defendant has two years from when their sentence becomes final to file a motion. Usually that also means you have two years plus 30 days to file if no appeal was filed or two years from the date the appeal court issued the mandate if a direct appeal was taken.