Criminal Defense Lawyers in Tampa
Call for a FREE Consultation!

What is the Florida Criminal Appeals Process?


Occasionally, the state oversteps the line between a legal conviction and an illegal conviction. Sometimes the state or its agents:

  • create a crime
  • obtain statements or physical evidence illegally
  • improperly stop a vehicle and obtain evidence based on that improper stop
  • fail to obtain a search warrant or obtain an illegal search warrant based on insufficient or fabricated facts
  • fail to disclose favorable evidence
  • do not present sufficient evidence to support a conviction


  • the judge refuses to correct an error by the cops or the state
  • the jury is given improper jury instructions
  • the judge is biased and refuses to step down
  • the judge imposes an illegal sentence

A conviction and sentence does not mean the case is over. If you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor you have a right to appeal the conviction and sentence and an opportunity to have the conviction or sentence overturned on appeal.

What Is the Florida Criminal Appeals Process?

An appeal is a process in which a cases are reviewed by a higher court. The person filing the appeal usually asks a higher court to change the decision below. For example, sometime after a conviction, a person asks the appeal court to reverse the conviction because the cops obtained evidence illegally and the judge refused to throw it out. The error resulted in an improper conviction. Appeals function to correct errors made by the police, the prosecutor, the judge and the jury.

Appeals are presented to a panel of judges, rather than a trial judge or jury. The parties submit legal briefs and present their arguments. After submitting briefs, the parties may have an opportunity to present an oral argument to a judge or panel of judges. During oral arguments, judges often ask question to the attorneys.

An appeal is about whether the judge at your trial made some serious mistakes and whether those mistakes helped the state get a conviction. An attorney is usually looking for ways to persuade a higher court that the trial judge made such serious mistakes that you did not get a fair trial or a legal sentence.

What Are the Grounds for a Criminal Appeal?

The most common reasons to appeal a case include legal grounds such as false arrest, failure to dismiss a case, failure to suppress illegal evidence, improper exclusion or admission of evidence, incorrect jury instructions, lack of sufficient evidence to support a finding of guilty, sentencing errors, juror misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, and ineffective assistance of counsel.

How Long Does a Criminal Appeal Take?

Preparing the record on appeal usually takes three to six months, depending on how long it takes to get the transcripts. Briefing usually takes another three or four months, and sometimes longer. The court of appeal may take several months to decide whether it will hear oral argument in the case. The court of appeal will review the record and the briefs. After deliberating in chambers, the appellate court will issue a decision.

What Is Post Conviction Relief?

Post conviction motions and petitions are usually filed in the trial court where the conviction occurred. The most common motions for post conviction relief in Florida are 3.850, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure, and 3.800, motion to correct illegal sentence.

A rule 3.850 motion for post conviction relief usually claims that the defendant did not get a fair trial or entered an invalid plea, and asks the judge to overturn the judgment of conviction and sentence. A 3.850 motion must be filed withing two years of the judgment of conviction or sentence.

A rule 3.800 motion for post conviction relief usually claims that the defendant’s sentence is illegal and asks the judge to correct the illegal sentence. A rule 3.800 motion can be filed at anytime before the sentence is finished.

Why Should I Contact an Appellate Lawyer?

If you believe that you have been improperly convicted or sentenced, you have a right to appeal the conviction and sentence, and an opportunity to have the conviction or sentence overturned on appeal. If you have been convicted in State court you have thirty days to filed a notice of appeal. If you have been convicted in federal court you have ten days to file a notice of appeal. You have two years to file a rule 3.850 motion for post conviction relief. If you do not file a notice of appeal within the required time you will forfeit your right to appeal. Appealing a conviction or filing a rule 3.850 motion for post conviction relief is very serious business. An appellate lawyer can help level the playing field, protect your rights and see that you get a fair shake. Not every attorney has the qualifications and experience to handle an appeal.

If you or a loved-one need legal assistance with an appeal or a motion for post conviction relief call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813 229-5353.

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez defends individuals charged with a misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses throughout the Tampa Bay area and the State of Florida. With more than 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and hundreds of jury trials, Daniel earned tremendous accolades from judges, other lawyers, defendants, and even jurors. Daniel started his legal career as a state prosecutor and became the chief of the Narcotics division before opening his own law practice in 1985.

Start Planning Your Defense

Fill out the form below and we will be in touch with you to schedule your FREE consultation.

Contact Us

3002 W Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609

Business hours:
7 Days a Week / 24 Hours a Day

Phone number:
(813) 229-5353

From Our Blog

Recent Reviews

Daniel J. Fernandez, Esq.
Based on 250 reviews
powered by Google
Amy Brennan
Amy Brennan
19:49 13 Jan 20
Mr. Daniel Fernandez and his staff treated me like a family member from the moment I walked into his office. He and... his staff are knowledgeable, diligent, attentive, and effective. They immediately went to work and didn't stop until they obtained the absolute best results for my case. From the moment Danny became my attorney, I felt at ease and knew that I was being represented by the best there is. I'm eternally grateful for all he and his staff have done for me. He is a true professional and an amazing advocate for your legal more
Irene Meadows
Irene Meadows
21:56 11 Dec 19
If you need an attorney who is compassionate, knowledgeable and will be there every step of the way for you and your... family during a difficult and challenging time in your life, you have made the right decision with Daniel Fernandez and his staff. Mr. Daniel Fernandez and his staff treat you like a member of their family. My husband and I would highly recommend you contact the law office of Daniel J. Fernandez. You will be glad you more
A Google User
A Google User
14:27 11 Dec 19
Great Experience, attorney Daniel J Fernandez was extremely kind, and explained everything in great detail. The staff... at the office was excellent! Great experience would recommend the attorney to more
Luella Nelson
Luella Nelson
23:30 10 Dec 19
Attorney Daniel Fernandez My daughter was facing a few issues that was going to effect her for a very long time. I did... not know which direction to turn or what to do. I googled 5 star attorney's and Mr. Fernandez's name displayed. I called his office and spoke to his paralegal Austin. He was very kind, understanding and gave me peace of mind just by speaking to me. I then met Mr. Fernandez shortly thereafter. This Attorney is very kind, compassionate, understanding and truly cares about his clients. His proven results were simply phenomenal. He basically saved my daughter from going away for a very long time instead she is going to receive some medical treatment and soon released with a short period of supervision. Afterwards Mr. Fernandez sat down with me and explained the out come and also has a plan for her moving forward. I know that each situation is different however this attorney not only has proven results he cares and looks for cures for his clients. If your in need of an attorney for any situation I suggest that you call Attorney Daniel Fernandez. I assure you that you will not be disappointed. -----Original Message-----read more
Joe Blanco
Joe Blanco
01:48 07 Dec 19
Daniel Fernandez is by far the best criminal defense attorney in the Tampa Bay area. I have used Mr. Fernandez for... several years to help my son with several issues he has faced. He compassionate, informative, and reliable. If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer I highly recommend you to hire Mr. Fernandezread more
Anjeanette Blanco
Anjeanette Blanco
22:37 06 Dec 19
Daniel J. Fernandez has been my lawyer for 25 years and he is amazing! He is always available when needed and goes... above beyond. His entire office staff is always friendly and helpful. I highly recommend Mr. more
Nicole Tarantelli
Nicole Tarantelli
17:36 02 Dec 19
I am so pleased with the experience I had with everyone in their office. The service was excellent! Everyone was kind... and patient. I mostly dealt with Austin. He did everything he said and always returned my calls the same day. I am incredibly grateful for all the hard work!read more
Cheryl Stinson
Cheryl Stinson
14:41 22 Nov 19
Daniel Fernandez represented us in a violation of probation in dade city'. He did a great job. Judge was going to... sentence my friend to one year in jail .Mr. Fernandez argued for 60 days and hot the court down to 70 days .thank you for your help Mr.Fernandezread more
gilbert Lozada
gilbert Lozada
18:23 01 Nov 19
Great work Mr. Daniel J Fernandez he is very knowledgeable as a defense attorney I will Highly recommended his services... to anyone.Thank youread more
stephanie santiago
stephanie santiago
18:13 21 Oct 19
Im so pleased with Daniel Fernandez. He was able to get my husbands case to go better than what we thought it was.... Thank you so muchread more
Jose Rodriguez
Jose Rodriguez
13:39 25 Sep 19
I don't have enough words to describe how amazing the experience with attorney Fernandez was. I could not have asked... for better services. Attorney Fernandez was very professional throughout the legal process which resulted in a positive outcome. Thank you again attorney Fernandez for giving my family and me peace of more
Genesis Padilla
Genesis Padilla
04:22 12 Sep 19
Mr. Fernandez was absolutely amazing with our family’s case. Very genuine and intelligent. Austin was a pleasure to... work with as well. We had a great experience overall, we were blown away by what he was able to accomplish so more
Alex Gomez
Alex Gomez
15:13 14 Aug 19
I'm very satisfied with the services provided from Mr. Daniel J Fernandez. I was in a bad situation and contacted his... firm. They were very professional and informative. They're very knowledgeable in the law and great at what they do. I would recommend them to everyone I know without hesitation. Mr. Fernandez and his firm are the real deal. Once again thank more
D Serano
D Serano
01:21 18 Jul 19
Daniel Fernandez is an amazing lawyer! I have used a few times for a family member and I highly recommend! He knows... his stuff, hes aggressive, a fighter, not afraid to try any case that comes his way!! He is honest and let’s you know what to expect from the moment you hire and until the case in closed!read more
Next Reviews

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney, call us for a free consultation to discuss the case. 7 DAYS A WEEK / 24 HOURS A DAY