There are strict time limits for filing an appeal in Alabama. The rules governing the filing of an appeal are found in the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure. The application of the rules, as well as the rules themselves, can be quite complicated, and the assistance of an experienced Alabama appellate lawyer is essential to ensure that your appeal is timely filed. The deadline for filing your appeal may depend on the court which originally heard your case. Additionally, motions filed with the court after your case is over, commonly referred to as post-judgment motions or post-trial motions, may affect the deadline for filing your appeal.
Because there are many variables involved incorrectly calculating the deadline for filing your appeal, you are encouraged to seek competent legal counsel. The following material is meant only as general information and may not strictly apply to your particular case. Feel free to contact the attorneys at Bradford Ladner, LLP. for assistance in determining the deadlines in your case.
TIME LIMITS FOR FILING AN APPEAL
In general, the following time limits apply for filing an appeal:
- Criminal Cases in Circuit Court – 42 days from the date that you are sentenced.
- Civil Cases in Circuit Court – 42 days from the date of the entry of judgment.
- Criminal Cases (misdemeanors) in District Court – 14 days from the date of sentencing.
- Civil Cases in District Court – 14 days from the date of the entry of judgment.
- Juvenile Court – (criminal or civil) – 14 days from the judgment.
- Divorce and Domestic Relations Cases in Circuit Court – 42 days from the entry of the judgment.
- Family Court Cases – 14 days from the date of the judgment.
FACTORS THAT MAY AFFECT THE DEADLINE FOR FILING AN APPEAL
Post-Trial and Post-Judgment Motions – One of the biggest factors that may affect the deadline for filing an appeal is the filing and disposition of post-trial or post-judgment motions. Many times, after a trial, one or more parties filed motions asking the court to modify the results of the trial. In general, the Alabama rules provide that your time for filing an appeal is tolled or delayed while these motions are pending before the trial court. However, certain Alabama rules provide for the motions to be considered denied if the trial court delays in deciding the motions for certain periods of time, typically 60 or 90 days depending on the type of case. Where post judgment or post trial motions are filed the calculation for the deadline for filing an appeal can become very complicated. It is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of qualified Alabama appellate attorney in dealing with situations involving motions filed after trial. It is also imperative that you seek assistance as soon as possible because deadlines may be approaching of which you are not aware.
Delayed “turn-in” date in Criminal Cases – Sometimes, in criminal cases, the trial court will sentence a defendant, but allow the defendant a short period of time prior to turning in to serve their sentence for the defendant to put their affairs in order. In these cases, the 42 day period begins to run on the date that the defendant is sentenced and not the date that they turn in to begin their sentence.
Delays for consideration of Probation – Sometimes, a criminal trial judge will sentence a defendant to a particular sentence, but rescheduled the case in order for the court to consider placing the defendant on probation. Certain Alabama cases have held that where the sentences imposed, and the only decision remaining is whether to probate the sentence, the 42 days begins to run from the date of sentencing and not the date that the trial court determines probation.
THE BEST ADVICE IS TO SEEK HELP FROM AN ALABAMA APPELLATE ATTORNEY
Nothing can ever replace good sound legal advice from a qualified Alabama attorney. If you are facing a situation, either civil or criminal, in which an appeal may be necessary, you should seek legal advice. The lawyers at Bradford Ladner LLP for experienced appellate attorneys who are available to assist you in determining whether an appeal was necessary, the likelihood of success in an appeal, and any applicable deadlines for filing an appeal in Alabama.