Criminal Appeals

Criminal Appeals

Criminal Appeals

If you were recently convicted of a crime in Florida, you might be sentenced to jail time or other harsh penalties. If you don’t agree with the outcome of your trial, you can file a direct appeal to a higher court. An appeal is a request for relief from an appellate court. After sentencing, you must file a notice of the direct appeal with thirty (30) days.

A criminal appellate attorney can help you determine the best reasons for appealing your criminal conviction. Some of the most common issues raised in a direct appeal in a criminal case include:

  • rulings on pretrial motions;
  • the improper admission of evidence presented by the prosecutor at trial;
  • the improper exclusion of evidence presented by the defense at trial;
  • improper statements by the prosecutor during closing arguments; and
  • mistakes in the jury instructions. 

The criminal appellate process can take between eight months to more than a year from the time the notice is filed until the appellate court issues the written order deciding the appeal. After the appeal is decided, an attorney can sometimes file a second appeal to a higher appellate court.

Attorney for Criminal Appeals in Tallahassee, FL

If you have been convicted of a criminal charge and want to appeal the conviction to a higher court, then contact an experienced criminal appellate attorney in Tallahassee, Leon County. The attorneys at Pumphrey Law can help you file the notice of appeal, make sure the record is prepared properly, brief the issues for the higher court, and argue the case during oral arguments.

The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are familiar with Florida’s laws, and can help you achieve the best possible outcome in your criminal appeal or post-conviction case. If you want to file a criminal appeal in Florida, then contact us today for a consultation.

Call (850) 681-7777 today.


Information Center on Criminal Appellate Law in Florida


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Rules that Apply to Criminal Appeals in Florida

Florida law has many rules related to filing and litigating criminal appeals and post-conviction motions include:

  • Florida Statutes § 924.02 - In a criminal case, the state or the defendant may appeal the outcome at the trial court.
  • Florida Statutes § 924.051 - A defendant who pleads guilty or nolo contendere without expressly reserving a right to appeal a legally dispositive issue will not be permitted a direct appeal.
  • Florida Statutes § 924.06 - Procedures for filing appealing a final judgment or conviction when probation has not been granted; after an order granting probation; after an order revoking probation; or after an illegal sentence.
  • Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure § 9.140 - Find the appeal proceedings in criminal cases including when an appeal is permitted, the reservation of the right to appeal an written order regarding a dispositive issue in the case, and an appeal after a coerced guilty plea if preserved by a motion to withdraw the plea.

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Florida’s Criminal Appeal Process

The term "criminal appellate law" is defined as the practice of law dealing with the defense and prosecution of misdemeanor and felony crimes in state and federal trial and appellate courts.

If you were convicted of a criminal offense in Florida state court, your appeal would be heard by one of the Florida District Courts of Appeals. Your attorney must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of your judgment and sentencing. The Notice of Appeal must include names of the parties on appeal, the name of the lower court, the case number and whether the appeal is final or non-final.

After the Notice of Appeal has been filed, the clerk of courts will prepare and file a record within 50 days of the filing of the Notice of Appeal, which includes all motions, pleadings, judgments and transcripts of your trial. Your attorney will then write a brief and argue the case during an oral argument. The notice must be filed with the court within 30 days of service of the clerk’s record. After everything is filed, the appellate court will make a ruling.

If you are not successful on your direct appeal, you may be able to pursue other post-conviction proceedings including a motion filed under Rule 3.850 because of ineffective assistance of counsel at trial or prosecutorial misconduct.


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Post-Conviction Motions in Florida

Florida law provides for several different types of post-conviction motions including:

  • Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence - Under Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure § 3.800, a defendant can file this motion if they have been sentenced to an illegal sentence that is obviously illegal. There is no limit for when this motion can be filed, and the trial court judge is permitted to correct an illegal sentence at any time. An example of an illegal sentence is if the trial court exceeded the maximum statutory sentencing requirements for the alleged crime.
  • Motion to Set Aside or Vacate Judgment or Sentence - This motion can be filed up to two years after your sentence has become final. This motion can be filed for different reasons listed in Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure § 3.850, but the most likely reason is for ineffective assistance of counsel. For example, if you attorney did not do enough to assist you in your criminal trial, and you were prejudiced at trial because of your attorney’s lack of assistance, then can file this motion to have your judgment overturned so that a new trial can be granted.
  • Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus - If an appeal was not filed, or previous appeals were not successful, your attorney can file a writ of habeas corpus on your behalf. You may only file this type of writ of habeas corpus if you were denied a constitutional right or if the trial court did not have jurisdiction over you. 

Additional Resources 

AG Criminal Appeals Division Unit in Tallahassee - Visit the website of the Florida Office of the Attorney General Pam Bondi to find information on the Tallahassee Office of the Criminal Appeals Division located at 107 West Gaines Street. Prosecutor’s working in the Criminal Appeals Division defend the prosecution in all criminal appeals within state and federal courts. The division handles more than 10,000 appeals each year including direct appeals, felony appeals of the basic sentencing guidelines cases, habeas corpus litigation in the federal trial and appellate courts, and appeals in non-capital murder cases in the District Courts of Appeal. The Capital Appeals Bureau handles appeals to the Florida Supreme Court in capital murder cases when the death sentence has been imposed. 

Five District Courts of Appeal in Florida - Visit the website of the Florida Courts to find information on the five District Courts of Appeal in Florida including the court located in Tallahassee for the First District Court of Appeals. Find our more about the organizational structure of the appellate courts and the jurisdictional requirements for criminal appeals. 

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee - Visit the website of the First District Court of Appeal located in Tallahassee at 2000 Drayton Drive. Find the most recent appellate written opinions and Per Curiam opinions, administrative orders, court dockets, and video of oral arguments. The court provides a way to be notified immediately when a written opinion is released via an automated e-mail list subscription or by using the RSS feed. This court is where most criminal appeals from a ruling in Circuit Court in Leon County will be heard. It is an intermediate appellate court between the state trial courts and Florida’s Supreme Court. Location information on how to file an appeal and frequently asked questions.

2000 Drayton Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
(850) 487-1000

Florida’s Rules of Appellate Procedure - The Florida state bar’s website contains a link to the rules used by Florida’s appellate courts. Find out more about what can happen if the win the criminal appeal including the case being remanded to the trial court to set aside the conviction and dismiss the case entirely or to remand the case for a new trial.


Finding a Criminal Appellate Attorney in Leon County, Florida

If you were convicted of a criminal charge in Leon County, Tallahassee, contact the criminal appellate attorneys at Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular case and issues that can be raised in your appeal. It is important to hire an experienced attorney to fight for the best possible outcome on your direct appeal or post-conviction motion.

Call us to find out more about our criminal appellate practice that includes brief writing, motion practice, oral arguments, and extraordinary writs. The Florida criminal appellate lawyers at Pumphrey Law understand the state and federal rules of criminal procedure and rules of evidence, pretrial motion practice and discovery, the Florida Statutes that define crimes, sentencing practices and guidelines. We also understand Florida law for post-conviction motions, federal habeas, the preservation of error, and appellate practice.

Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your appeal or post-conviction motion. Find out more about the reasons to appeal your criminal case to a higher court.


This article was last updated on Friday, March 24, 2017.