While most people think of trials, settlements, and the negotiations that occur between opposing lawyers and firms as the things that lawyers do, the appeals process is a huge area of the law. Some attorneys even dedicate their entire practice to specializing in arguing appellate issues in front of panels of judges rather than trial practice. To understand why appeals are both necessary and important for some cases, it is beneficial to get an overview of how appellate law functions.
The trial is actually the bottom level for most cases in the legal process. Many times, the losing side will have at least one appeal to contest things like procedural errors at trial or erroneous rulings on legal issues made by the trial judge. If they can successfully convince the appellate court that something was done wrong, the case will be sent back down to the trial court. There are also multiple levels of appeals, where higher courts gradually gain more authority to make rulings that bind the lower courts.
How do I know if I should appeal a previous ruling?
The best option after an unfavorable ruling is to discuss what happened with an appellate lawyer. They can get a transcript of the courtroom proceedings and all relevant documentation to determine if any errors were made. Aside from the possibility of mistakes, your case may involve novel issues that need to be decided by a higher court rather than left to the discretion of a trial judge.
How does the appeals process work?
Whether the case is in the federal or state court system, most litigants will get at least one appeal before the ruling is finalized. In the federal system there are courts of appeal for each circuit that sit above the trial courts. In Florida, the case will either go to a circuit court or district court of appeals assigned to your county depending on whether it was tried in county or circuit court. It is possible, but rare that a case will be appealed multiple times and make it to either the state or federal supreme court, as they tend to only have jurisdiction for certain issues that are important to national or statewide uniformity.
At the appellate level, trials are replaced with lawyers for both sides making their arguments in front of a panel of judges and trying to persuade them that their interpretation of a law or procedural rule is correct.
Why are the services of an attorney so important to the appeals process?
In order to discover things like procedural errors during a trial or new areas of law that require appellate decisions, you should only retain a lawyer that specializes in these kinds of issues. Appellate law and the issues it crease tend to be even more complex than litigation that occurs before a trial. Only the best Destin appellate lawyers have the insight to find the right way to argue on your behalf and successfully overturn the decision of a judge.
Talk to a Destin appeals lawyer
If you are disappointed with the outcome of any case in the Destin area, or other parts of north Florida, contact ASG Legal to help you make an appeal.