Post-Trial Appeals

img-1We are now handling APPEALS:


What circumstances lead to an appeal?

Appeals typically arise out of a mistake by law enforcement, misconduct on the part of the prosecution, ineffective legal counsel, insufficient evidence, illegal sentencing, or other errors of law.

How do I know if my case can be appealed?

If the defendant pled not guilty and was convicted by a judge or jury, a case can usually be appealed.

If the defendant pled guilty, the option to appeal is very limited. A motion may be filed in the trial court to set aside the guilty plea. This requires that the defendant was improperly advised regarding the consequences of pleading guilty, was inappropriately pressured into pleading guilty, or other circumstance that demonstrates the plea was not voluntarily or knowingly entered into by the defendant.

When is the deadline for appealing my case?

In Civil cases a litigant must typically wait for a final judgment before he or she may appeal. An appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days of entry of final judgment. It is possible to have the Court of Appeals review a preliminary court ruling, but the Court of Appeals is not required to do this. 

In Criminal cases an appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days of the entry of final judgment.  Typically this is the date of sentencing, which may be concurrent with the conviction date. 

In Administrative cases, such as DOL hearings, the appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days from when the decision is issued, rather the date that the suspension becomes effective.

In Federal cases the window to file an Appeal is only fourteen (14) days. This is done by filing a petition with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On very rare occasions, an unfavorable decision from this court may be heard by the United States Supreme Court, if the Court chooses to do so.

In general, how does the Appeal process work?

The person who wishes to challenge the adverse decision must initiate an appeal in the court system by filing all necessary documents to the Superior Court or the Appellate Court. The first step involves filing a Notice of Appeal and paying a filing fee, if required. Other deadlines will follow, based on the initial thirty (30) day filing deadline.

How do I know which court to file my appeal in?

Decisions from Municipal or District Courts, and Administrative decisions, may be appealed in Superior Court of the same county as the arrest. Felony appeals are handled by the Washington State Court of Appeals, in one of three divisions, divided geographically: Seattle, Tacoma, or Spokane. In rare cases, an unfavorable outcome at the Appellate Court may result in the case being heard by the Washington State Supreme Court, which is located in Olympia. This is the highest court in Washington State and has the power to decide which cases it will hear from the Court of Appeals.

When can I expect my appeal to be resolved?

An appeal can take several months or an entire year. However, some appeals may be concluded in as little as two (2) weeks.