The Virginia Appeals Process

Posted By David L. Carlson, Attorney At Law || 13-Aug-2015

If you are facing criminal charges, you may be curious to learn more about the appeals process, in case you are convicted. To “appeal,” means to ask a higher court to reverse the decision of a lower court after the final judgment or ruling.

If a defendant was to be found guilty, the criminal defendant (the appellant) can file a notice of appeal, and file briefs with the appeals court citing their reasons for over-turning the lower court’s ruling.

With an appeal, no new evidence is admitted, it’s strictly about the “legal argument.” Once the appeal is filed, the other party will usually file a response countering these legal arguments. From there, the appellant files a responsive brief, countering the opposition’s arguments.

If either side desires, they shall argue the case before the appeals court, which may decide to:

  1. Sustain the original ruling
  2. Reverse the original ruling
  3. Send the case back to trial court
  4. Reverse or confirm it in part

In Virginia, once a final judgment or other appealable order has been entered by the Circuit Court, the defendant has the right to seek an appellate review. The two tribunals with appellant jurisdiction in Virginia cases are the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. The procedure for Virginia appeals can be found in the Rules of the Supreme Court Volume II Parts 5 & 5A.

Filing the Notice of Appeal

An appeal must be filed in writing with the Clerk’s Office within 30 calendar days of the entry date of the final judgement or appealable order.

Just because one files an appeal with the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, it doesn’t automatically guarantee a new trial. It’s up to the Appellate Court to decide if a judicial error was made in the case.

Some of the appeals procedures are jurisdictional and require strict compliance, therefore, you should discuss the process with a Richmond criminal defense attorney from Carlson & Collier.

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