How long do I have to appeal my conviction?

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor in a general district court or a juvenile and domestic relations court in Virginia, you must note your appeal to the clerk’s office within ten (10) calendar days from the judgment of the court. Keep in mind that this does not mean that you have ten (10) business days to accomplish this task. If you are represented by counsel at trial, your attorney can note the appeal to the higher court for you at the clerk’s office.

If you appeal to a higher court, you will receive a trial de novo in the circuit court, meaning that you can try your case again as if the lower court did not enter a finding of guilt against you.

If you are on the fence about whether you should appeal a conviction, you will be best served to go ahead and note your appeal. You can always withdraw it later up until the date it is heard in the circuit court by signing the appropriate paperwork with the clerk.

If you are convicted of a felony in a circuit court in Virginia, you have thirty (30) days to note your appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia. While some attorneys have blogged to advise that an appeal must be noted thirty (30) days from the court date, you technically have thirty (30) days to note an appeal from the day the circuit court judge signs the sentencing order. Sometimes, depending on the judge and the clerk’s office, a judge may sign the order right away but oftentimes, this is not done for a few weeks. Either way, you should keep up with this important deadline. If you are represented by counsel at trial, your attorney can note the appeal to the higher court for you.

In most cases, retaining an attorney prior to the initial trial can prevent the hassle and cost (such as in paying an appeal bond to get out of jail) associated with appealing criminal convictions. If you need representation on a criminal matter that has been appealed, you should consult with and retain an experienced trial or appellate lawyer to assist you in obtaining better results from a higher court.