When a person is unjustly convicted or unlawfully sentenced, quick action is crucial. If the rule-imposed deadlines are not met, the claim may be forever lost. This is known as "procedural bar". It is procedural bar that has allowed innocent people to be executed. It is procedural bar that has allowed people to be imprisoned by the mistakes of others.

In state court criminal matters, there are two avenues of appeal, with each presenting different issues, deadlines and procedures. There are direct appeals, which are filed in the Florida Court of Appeals pursuant to the rules of appellate procedure, and there are collateral appeals which are filed with the local trial court pursuant to the Criminal Rules.

Direct appeals are based on "the face of the record". The record includes the verbal or written recording of all court proceedings that led up to the conviction, regardless of whether the conviction is the result of a trial or a plea. Direct appeals may address errors that occur during trial, including improper argument, erroneous rulings on evidence, or ruling on motions of law. They may also address sentencing issues. However, many sentencing errors require that Motion be made to the trial court prior to an appeal, and failure to do so can result in procedural bar. The time limit for filing a Notice of Appeal is 30 days after the judgment & sentence become final. For those with no prior criminal record, release on bond pending appeal may be possible.

Collateral appeals may incorporate information or evidence outside the court's record, and may include relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel, an involuntary plea, or newly discovered evidence. They may also include sentencing errors, corrections, and modifications. These may include Deadlines and rules of procedure for collateral appeals vary based on the rule which authorizes the relief. It may be as short as 30 days, or as much as two years.

At McIntosh Law, we are dedicated to personalized, superior and results oriented representation. Cass Gorton is our appellate attorney, bringing 18 years of experience in criminal trials and appeals. Working together, she and Brett McIntosh will evaluate your case, explore your remedies and explain your legal options.

Contact McIntosh Law today by e-mail or phone at 941-306-3230 for an initial consultation to discuss your criminal law questions and concerns. Our Sarasota criminal defense attorneys represent clients throughout Florida. We offer flexible appointment times and we accept all major credit cards.