What Is An Appeal?

Appellate court is distinctly different from trial court in several ways, and the attorney you hire to handle an appeal should have experience representing clients in appellate court. We understand that the appellate process can be complex, confusing, and downright intimidating.

What Can I Expect When I Appeal A Case?

An appeal is a legal request to a higher court to review the ruling of a lower court. The appellate court evaluates the records with evidence and proceedings from the trials to determine if the lower court judge made an error. In some instances, appeals may involve the appellate court clarifying or interpreting points of law that have not been previously explained.

Appellate court is distinctly different from trial court in several ways, and the attorney you hire to handle an appeal should have experience representing clients in appellate court. We understand that the appellate process can be complex, confusing, and downright intimidating. In this blog post, we want to break down the appellate process for you with short, actionable steps so that you know what to expect when your case goes on appeal.

The Appellate Process

If you have a judgment against you in a civil or criminal matter, you may be able to appeal your case to a higher court.

  1. Hire an Appellate Lawyer

The first step in filing an appeal is hiring an appellate attorney to review your case and determine whether an appeal is appropriate for your case. Not every case can be appealed, and eligibility often hinges on a sophisticated interpretation of the law or facts of the case.

While individuals are technically permitted to represent themselves in appellate cases, appellate proceedings are relatively technical and limited to matters of law. You need the help of an experienced attorney to write a brief and present an oral argument before the appellate court. 

If you were represented by an attorney at the trial court, you may still need to find and hire a separate attorney at the appellate level. Not all trial attorneys have experience or have the knowledge to provide quality representation at the appellate level. Moreover, while the skillsets for trial court and appellate court attorneys have some overlap, they are substantially different in various ways. In some cases, there may even be potential conflicts with your trial court attorney representing you at the appellate court level such as issues involving ineffective assistance of counsel.

  1. File the Notice of Appeal

If you and your attorney determine that an appeal is appropriate for your case, the next step is filing the appeal. There are certain timelines, processes, procedures and laws that must be followed when filing an appeal. Your attorney can guide you through this process and take care of all the necessary filings you need to appeal your case.

  1. Write Your Brief

A written brief is your opportunity to present your case to the court and persuade them to review your case. Appellate briefs are important legal documents that not only outline the facts and evidence presented at trial, but also discuss and cite the laws that apply to your specific case. An experienced appellate attorney will write a brief that is detailed, precise, and persuasive and will know what procedures, formatting, and legal issues should be raised in your case.

  1. Oral Argument

After reviewing the brief, the appellate court may ask to hear oral arguments. During oral arguments, your attorney will be asked to argue the legal points outlined in the brief and answer questions from the appellate judges. Again, this is distinct from trial court where witnesses and evidence are presented to support your argument. Rather, this is an opportunity for your attorney to have a discussion with the appellate court about the law and argue why your case should be remanded to trial court or overturned.

Get a Reputable Ellis County Appellate Attorney Today

The appellate procedure can be complex, and it requires the experience of a reliable appellate attorney. At The Law Offices of JD Foster, we will review your case and determine the next steps forward. Please get in touch with us online today or call us directly at (972) 937-1616 to speak with an attorney.


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