Appeals System in Manassas

Appealing a court ruling can be both grueling and complicated, with very specific deadlines for filing certain documents. Below, an experienced Manassas criminal lawyer discusses the intricacies of the appeals system and important things someone should know before undergoing the process. For more information about appealing a court case, call today to discuss your case and find out how an experienced Manassas appeals attorney can help you.

How The Appeal System Works in Manassas

In the case of a misdemeanor charge tried in a General District Court, if a defendant does not like the outcome of the case, he has 10 days from the day of conviction to file his appeal in writing. The matter then goes to the Circuit Court where the process begins anew.

For cases that are initially tried in the Circuit Court, whether felonies or misdemeanors, if a party believes that there has been error in the process or the law has been misapplied, then the party has the opportunity to note an appeal within 30 days of the entry of judgment to the Virginia Court of Appeals. They will then have a longer period of time in which to file a brief to convince the Court of Appeals to hear the case. Once the Court of Appeals makes the decision to hear the case, there is a further memorandum to be filed. There may also be oral argument before the Court of Appeals on the issue.

The appeals process for the Virginia Supreme Court is similar. If a party is dissatisfied with the outcome of an appeal heard by the Court of Appeals, he has a period of time within which to note her appeal. The Virginia Supreme Court must first determine whether it will hear the case at all. The Virginia Supreme Court often elects not to hear a case. If they do elect to hear a case, then there will be additional memorandum that will have to be filed with the court. There may also be oral arguments before the court. After considering the record and the arguments presented, the Virginia Supreme Court will ultimately render a decision in writing within a few months of having heard the matter.

Important Considerations When Thinking About Appealing

If an individual is considering appealing a misdemeanor conviction from a General District Court, there are several things that he should keep in mind. One consideration is the possibilities of different outcomes in the Circuit Court. This is not just whether there might be a better outcome, but also whether there might be a harsher outcome. Evaluating the possible outcomes is probably the most important step in determining whether someone wants to take a risk again through an appeal.

Other important considerations include whether or not there will be different and better evidence the second time around; whether trial counsel did a good job at the first hearing or might it make sense to use a different lawyer the second time; or whether a party believes that the District Court judge incorrectly applied the law at the first hearing and the likelihood that a Circuit Court judge might do something different.