The hope of every litigant entering a trial is that they will win. Of course, that cannot be the case because one side has to lose either some or all of the issues in the case. Fortunately for litigants, there are times when an appeal is appropriate and can give them an additional opportunity to win their case. The Florida appeals process has been established to provide legal relief from court orders that were issued in error due to procedural mistakes, judicial misapplication of the law, misinterpretation of the law, or abuse of discretion by the judge. The key is knowing whether you have a valid issue for appeal, how much time you have to file an appeal, and the risks that are involved. It is also important to understand that simply losing a case is not immediate grounds for an appeal.
Not every appeal will be successful. In fact, the chance of winning an appeal is quite low. However, that should not scare someone with a valid legal issue from taking their case to another level. It is important to have a qualified appellate attorney evaluate your case for valid legal issues, and you only have a short period of time in which to file an appeal. Typically the time for filing an appeal is thirty days from the date of the order or judgment, but sometimes it can be as short as ten days.
To understand the appeals process in Florida, it is important to understand Florida's court structure. Florida's court system has several levels, each playing an important part in the justice system. The different courts in Florida are:
County Trial Courts. Each county has a court that hears the lowest level issues under Florida's laws. The county courts will hear small claims disputes, traffic citations, and misdemeanor criminal cases.
Circuit Trial Courts. These courts have general jurisdiction over all felony criminal matters and complex civil cases. They also hear appeals from county trial courts.
District Courts of Appeal. There are five District Courts of Appeal in Florida, and they hear the appeals from the circuit trial courts. It is generally a rule that the District Court of Appeal is a litigant’s final court of appeal. The Loris Law Group handles cases in the Fifth District Court of Appeal.
Supreme Court of Florida. The Florida Supreme Court is the final court of appeal, but there is not an absolute right of review. Many cases that are appealed to the Supreme Court will not be heard. This Court limits its caseload to the cases that will shape law, develop public policy, and correct clear miscarriages of justice.
Florida's Appeals Process
Nobody can appeal a case without a final appealable issue from a trial court. This can come in a number of ways, but typically it means that either a jury has handed down a verdict or a judge has issued a decision that makes a case final. There are some exceptions to this general rule, but this is typically when a case will be appealed.
After a final decision in a circuit court, the party making an appeal will file a notice of appeal with the District Court of Appeal in their area. This notice is important and it must be filed within the time frame described in Florida's Rules of Appellate Procedure. After the notice is filed the appealing party then has to:
Obtain a record of what happened at the trial court level, including transcripts and filings;
Write a brief that outlines the legal issues to be addressed with supporting case law specific to the issues in your case. This is your opportunity to convince the district court of appeals that an error was made by the trial court and that the case should be reversed;
In some cases, make oral arguments in front of the district court of appeal judges. This is another opportunity for the lawyers to convince the judge or judges that your case is one that should be reversed; and
Await the court's decision.
Get Started on Your Case Today
It is important to contact an appellate attorney as soon as possible if you think you have a valid issue for appeal. The appellate process is complex and time-consuming. You should have an experienced attorney evaluate your case requires the right attorney to advise you about the issues in your case and determine whether they are appropriate for an appeal. The Loris Law Group provides appellate representation in family law and criminal matters.
The attorneys at the Loris Law Group can provide the expertise needed to evaluate the trial court proceedings and determine whether an error occurred that led to an improper or unjust decision in your case that can be addressed by the appellate court. Your appellate rights are limited and time sensitive. Most appellate proceedings have very narrow windows of time for filing your intent to appeal. Therefore, your immediate action is required in order to prevent a permanent waiver of this important right.
Call The Loris Law Group today at (321) 637-0067 for a
free consultation about an appeal in your case.