Texas Criminal Appeals- Deadlines

If you hire me or not I want you to know what to expect and what your options are.

Unfortunately, education also includes breaking bad news to potential clients. I have had a few inquiries about appeals only to inform the defendant and/or the defendant’s family that there will be no appeal because deadlines have been missed.

To avoid this in the future here is a quick guide to state criminal appeal deadlines.

You Must File A Noitce Of Appeal Within 30 Days Of Sentencing

Ok. To keep this simple, hire an appellate attorney as soon as possible. If you are remotely considering appealing your case quit reading this and find a criminal defense lawyer.
If you really want to know the law then keep reading.

What is the law?

From the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure (yes the initials are TRAP)-

26.2 Criminal Cases.
The notice of appeal must be filed:
(1) within 30 days after the day sentence is imposed or suspended in open court, or after the day the trial court enters an appealable order; or
(2) within 90 days after the day sentence is imposed or suspended in open court if the defendant timely files a motion for new trial.

30 days from sentencing

A plea of guilty, or a guilty verdict from a judge or jury alone does not start the deadline for appeal. The important date is when sentence is imposed. Many cases, including most plea bargains and misdemeanor cases, will include sentencing on the same day as the verdict. Some cases will include a separate sentencing hearing, or sentencing will be put off until a future date to let the jury have a break.

Motion For New Trial

The deadline for appeals may be extended if a motion for new trial is timely filed. What is a Motion for New Trial? Again, quit reading this and find an appellate attorney.

From TRAP-

21.1 Definition.
(a) New trial means the rehearing of a criminal action after the trial court has, on the defendant’s motion, set aside a finding or verdict of guilt.
21.2 When Motion for New Trial Required. A motion for new trial is a prerequisite to presenting a point of error on appeal only when necessary to adduce facts not in the record….
21.4 Time to File and Amend Motion.
(a) To file. The defendant may file a motion for new trial before, but no later than 30 days after, the date when the trial court imposes or suspends sentence in open court.
(b) To amend. Within 30 days after the date when the trial court imposes or suspends sentence in open court but before the court overrules any preceding motion for new trial, a defendant may, without leave of court, file one or more amended motions for new trial.

Unfortunately, some defendants are sentenced and begin probation or incarceration without knowledge of this deadline. Your trial attorney should make you aware that you have 30 days to file an appeal. If she doesn’t and you miss this deadline you can still file a Writ of Habeas Corpus (for ineffective assistance, inter alia). However, Writs are much more limited than appeals.

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