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Appealing a Court Decision in Leesburg

If convicted of a criminal charge in Leesburg, you have the right to appeal your case as long as you do it within the allotted legal time limit. Below, a Leesburg criminal defense attorney discusses what else you should know regarding appeals and what you should know before deciding to appeal your case. For legal assistance with your appeal, call and schedule a consultation today.

How Do Appeals Typically Work?

The most common type of appeal is the appeal from the general district court to the circuit court. That is known as the appeal de novo, which is a Latin phrase meaning the case starts new. That means that the results of the general district court trial are wiped away and the case must still be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the circuit court. This appeal can be done as a matter of right for anyone convicted of a criminal offense in the general district court.

How Can I File An Appeal?

In order to appeal in the general district court or circuit court, the appeal must be perfected in the clerk’s office of the general district court. This appeal has a very specific time limit and failure to appeal within the time limit is fatal to one’s ability to make an appeal. The time limit for appealing the result of a general district court case to the circuit court is within 10 days after the result of the general district court. This 10-day period is important, however it does include weekends, so it’s important to know what timeline is necessary for the appeal.

How Many Times Can I Appeal My Case?

You only get one appeal from general district court to the circuit court. If the circuit court makes an error and you plan to appeal to the Court of Appeals, you get one appeal. Then, if there are any issues in the court of appeals, you get one appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

What Are Some Important Things To Take Into Account Before Appealing?

If you receive an adverse finding in the general district court and are considering appealing your case, there are certain things you need to consider.

  • First, you should consider that the court might put an appeal bond on the case if you reside outside the Commonwealth of Virginia. An appeal bond is issued by the court to make a promise to appear at the circuit court level. This is uncommon but it does happen in certain jurisdictions.
  • Additionally, you should know that if you were found guilty at the circuit level, there would be appellate fees. Appellate fees are the circuit court version of court costs and are generally several hundred dollars.
  • You should also know that the circuit court is not bound by any decision of the general district court. Therefore, you should have a discussion with your attorney about the adverse results of the general district court and whether or not matters could worsen for you should you have the same finding of guilt at the circuit court level.
  • Finally, you should understand that at the circuit court you have the right to request a jury trial. However, if you are found guilty during the process of a jury trial, you have to pay an additional fee for the jury’s time.

As a result of these factors, a lengthy discussion should occur between the client and attorney prior to making any appeal decision and whether to seek a bench trial or jury trial.

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