A Brief Guide to the Florida Appeals Process

If you have gone to trial and the judgment came back against you, don’t worry. All hope is not lost. In some cases, you can follow the Florida appeals process to have the judgement or final order from the courts reviewed for mistakes or misapplications of the law. You can request an appeal in any type of case including family law, commercial litigation, and more.

If you or your attorney believe that the trial judge has made a mistake or failed to properly apply the law, you will need to understand the Florida appeals process to get your case looked at by the higher courts.

Step One – Request an Appeal

In the state of Florida you have 30 days to file a proper Notice of Appeal or you will lose your right to appeal the lower court’s decision. This time limit can be quite tight in some cases, especially if you plan on changing attorneys because you were unhappy with the results from your original case. In order to ensure you can get your case reviewed, make sure your attorney has the exact dates of the current judgement available.

Step Two – Follow Current Judgement

Until the appeals process is completed you will need to follow whatever decision the court made. For example, if you are in a child custody battle, you need to follow the parenting schedule that was handed down by the original judge. You can also request a stay, which will put the previous judgment on hold until after the appeal. The stay must be granted by the trial court or appellate court in order to be valid.

Step Three – Stating Your Case to the Appellate Court

Once the appellate court lets you know that they have accepted your case, you will need to submit a brief that lists the legal arguments concerning the evidence or the relevant laws applicable to your situation. This will be handled by your attorney. The opposing party will then have the opportunity to file their own brief explaining why they think the original court was correct. Finally, you will be able to file a reply brief in response to the opposing party’s brief.

Unlike the lower courts, you may not have the opportunity to give oral statements. This will be determined by the three judge panel that is responsible for your case. If they want to hear oral arguments, they will schedule them.

Step Four – Getting the Results

The appellate court will then send the results of their decision to the lower courts. If the appellate court rules against you they will issue a denial of relief. If they side with you they will provide a written opinion that shows where they believe the trial judge made their errors. The appeals process can also result in showing that the trial judges got it partially right and request that the lower courts look at the case again.

The entire process can take many months or even years, but in many cases it can be well worth the effort. If you feel that the courts have gotten your case wrong, make sure you work with your attorney to file an appeal as quickly as possible.

Written by Law Offices of Samuel Cozzo

Law Offices of Samuel Cozzo

Mr. Cozzo focuses his practice in business litigation and appellate matters. He is a member of the Florida Bar, Dade County Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in the Federal Courts of the Southern District of Florida.