How to Appeal the Outcome of a Trial?
As of January 2022, most civil and criminal litigants in Virginia courts have a right to appeal unfavorable trial results. Legal representation in an appeal involves different procedures, skills, and strategies than at trial. The appellate process is writing intensive, with an emphasis on the lengthy appellate briefs the parties file with the appellate court.
Because appellate litigation can be complex, a trial attorney may wish to collaborate with an experienced appellate attorney to help navigate how to file or defend an appeal. A knowledgeable appellate attorney can help evaluate the trial record, identify appealable issues and corresponding standards of review, satisfy the procedural requirements for an appeal, draft appellate briefs, and engage in oral advocacy before the appellate court.
What are Appeals of Right in Virginia?
Before January 2022, if a litigant appealed unfavorable results of a state court trial, the appellate court could grant or refuse the appeal. Now, both civil and criminal litigants in Virginia courts have an automatic right to appeal an unfavorable trial outcome to the Court of Appeals of Virginia. This is referred to as an “appeal of right,” as opposed to a discretionary appeal.
How do I Appeal the Outcome of a Trial in Virginia?
Appeals of right involve satisfying many procedural rules, including, but not limited to, the following: filing a notice of an appeal (Rule 5A:6), bonds (Rule 5A:17; Code § 8.01-676.1), preparation of the circuit court record (Rule 5A:7; Rule 5A:10A), filing and giving notice of filing transcripts or written statements (Rule 5A:8), designations of materials for an appendix and assignments of error (Rule 5A:25), and filing appellate briefs (Rule 5A:20 through Rule 5A:22).
How Much Time Do I Have to Appeal an Unfavorable Trial Result?
Litigants in Virginia must file a notice of an appeal within 30 days after entry of the trial court’s final order. (Rule 5A:6; Code § 8.01-675.3). If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to appeal the case.
Do I Get to Submit New Evidence to the Appeals Court?
In general, appellate courts are limited to the record of the trial court and do not hear new evidence, such as testimony from witnesses. Thus, it is very important that the trial attorney develops a sufficient record of what happened in the trial court so that the appellate court can review the case. Additionally, to appeal an issue, the trial attorney must have raised and preserved that issue in the trial court. Generally, the party appealing the trial court’s decision cannot raise new issues on appeal.
What Are Possible Outcomes of an Appeal?
If you file an appeal of right to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the appellate court could affirm, reverse, or remand the decision of the trial court. The court could also use a combination of these options, particularly if there are several distinct issues being appealed. A party aggrieved by the Court of Appeals of Virginia’s final decision may petition the Supreme Court of Virginia for an appeal. (Code § 8.01-670; Code § 17.4-411). The Supreme Court of Virginia has discretion to grant or refuse petitions for appeal.
How Much Do Appeals Cost?
The cost to appeal the decision of a Virginia trial court will vary from case to case, depending in part on the complexity of the issues involved and the length of the trial record.
Because appeals can be expensive, we offer initial appellate evaluations. Such evaluations involve reviewing the trial record, assessing appealable issues, and providing recommendations on whether an appeal is advisable.