iStock_000025527097_Large.jpgThe criminal justice system in the State of California is not perfect. Judges, juries and attorneys can error in the choices they make. Due to the fact that mistakes do happen, an individual has the option to appeal a court decision on the grounds of injustice. However, it is important to note, the timeline to appeal a misdemeanor in California is short and should involve a skilled criminal defense attorney, who will work to reverse the original court outcome for his or her client.

Understanding what an appeal is:

Simply put, an appeal is when a higher court in California is asked to examine the decision made by a lower court. The higher court is known as an appellate court. The appellate court will

review the court records to determine if mistakes were made that could have led to an incorrect decision regarding a misdemeanor conviction. The “appellant” is the party appealing the previous court decision made and the prosecution is known as the “respondent.” According to California law, an “appellant” can only be the actual defendant or his or her criminal defense attorney. A friend or family member can not appeal a court decision.

Understanding a Misdemeanor Appeal

The process to appeal a felony conviction and the process to appeal a misdemeanor conviction are slightly different. The “appellant” in a misdemeanor appeal must file that appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. A misdemeanor appeal in California can only result from a case that involved a misdemeanor charge and not a felony charge. Even if an individual originally was charged with a felony but convicted of a misdemeanor, he or she must request a felony appeal instead of a misdemeanor appeal.

When to File an Appeal

An “appellant” only has 30 days to file his or her misdemeanor appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. In the appeal, the “appellant” can ask to have his or her jail sentence postponed until the outcome of the appeal is made known. Community services or fines also could be postponed, depending on the pleasure of the court, during the appeal review process.

What to provide the Appellate Court

When asking the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court, especially giving careful consideration to the legal issues that came into play, the “appellant” must provide specific records. The records most likely requested will be:

  1. a reporter’s transcript,
  2. an official electronic recording, and/or
  3. a statement on appeal

In addition, any other paperwork the “appellant” would like reviewed by the Appellate Court must be provided.

Contact My Office for Help

The appeal process for a misdemeanor can be complicated and must be done in a timely manner. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance with a misdemeanor appeal in California, please contact my office to learn how I can be of help. A free consultation is available to discuss your case. I want to work on your behalf to change the outcome of your case.