If you disagree with a judge’s decision — or receive a Notice of Appeal — you should immediately contact a Baltimore County appeals attorney. An appeal requires extensive legal and procedural knowledge, and most people cannot handle them on their own. At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we deliver tenacious representation, personalized appeals strategies, and thoughtful advice to our clients. Learn more about our appellate practice below.
When Can I File My Appeal?
When you file a lawsuit, litigation typically begins at a trial court (such as a district or circuit court). At the trial court level, you and your lawyer present evidence, including testimony, expert witness opinions, and documents. The judge or jury evaluates this evidence and issues a decision. If one of the parties disagrees with this decision, he or she can file an appeal. However, you typically can only appeal a final judgment. If you are unsure whether the court issued a final judgment, contact a lawyer immediately for advice.
There also are strict filing deadline in Maryland appeals. You typically must file your Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the court’s judgment. If you do not meet this filing deadline, the court will automatically reject your appeal and uphold the lower court’s decision. Since you have limited time to file an appeal, you should contact an appeals attorney as quickly as possible. At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we are ready to discuss your appeal with you. Contact us today.
Where Do I File My Appeal?
Maryland has multiple appeal courts and you must file your Notice of Appeal with the correct one. Depending on the nature of your claim and its procedural history, you might file an appeal in the:
- Circuit Court for Baltimore County,
- Maryland Court of Special Appeals, or
- Maryland Court of Appeals.
You typically have the right to file an appeal with the circuit court or Court of Special Appeals — as long you meet the court’s filing deadlines. However, the Court of Appeals (Maryland’s highest court) has broad discretion over which cases it will hear.
The Maryland Appeals Process
Appeals have their own strict rules and procedures. If you do not meet these appellate requirements, the courts will reject your appeal and uphold the trial court’s decision. It’s important to understand that you typically cannot present new evidence or witnesses during an appeal. And, unlike a trial court, you will not face a jury at the Court of Special Appeals or Court of Appeals. Instead, a judge or panel of judges will evaluate your claim.
(Note: In District Court criminal cases, you can file a de novo appeal to the Circuit Court. This de novo appeal is essentially a new trial, including presentation of evidence and a jury. This assignment was linked to Mr. Crawford’s family law site. However, if it’s going to be on the criminal site, you might want to mention Circuit Court de novo appeals.)
Additionally, your appeal might require:
- Filing a Notice of Appeal or an Application for Leave to Appeal,
- Filing a bond with court that postpones enforcement of the lower court’s decision,
- Submitting an Appeal Information Report,
- Attending pre-hearing conferences and mediation,
- Ordering court transcripts,
- Building a record extract for the appeals court,
- Submitting detailed written briefs or arguments that summarize your claim and legal positions, and
- Presenting formal, oral arguments to a panel of judges.
The Importance of a Skilled Baltimore County Appeals Attorney
Most people cannot handle an appeal on their own. The legal analysis and procedural requirements are simply too demanding — and a single mistake can result in an unfavorable decision. For this reason, you should seriously consider hiring a skilled appeals attorney before you file an appeal with the Baltimore County courts.
Importantly, not every case merits an appeal. If you do not have a strong appellate claim, you shouldn’t go through the time and expense of filing an appeal. When you work with a Baltimore County appeals attorney, your lawyer will:
- Assess the strength of your appellate claims and defenses,
- Educate you about your appeal rights, empowering you to make educated decisions about your case,
- Properly draft appellate documents, such as your Notice of Appeal and record extract,
- Craft persuasive appellate briefs for the judge,
- Present strong oral arguments at your hearing (if necessary), and
- Explain the court’s decision and your right to further appeals (if necessary).
In other words, hiring an appeals attorney helps you protect your interests and ensures that you comply with Maryland’s exacting appeals procedures.
Types of Appeals We Handle
At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we handle a wide variety of appeals involving:
- Family law matters, including:
- Child custody issues,
- Child and spousal support orders,
- Divorce decrees,
- Property distribution disputes,
- Criminal cases, including:
- Drivers’ license revocation,
- Misdemeanor convictions,
- Felony convictions, and
- Sentencing modification.
We also handle family law cases involving the modification of child custody, child support, and spousal support orders.
Discuss Your Case With a Baltimore County Appeals Attorney
Before you file or respond to an appeal, you should discuss your case with a skilled appeals attorney. At James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we handle a wide variety of civil and criminal appeals. We will help you understand your legal options and tirelessly fight on your behalf. Contact us for a free and confidential evaluation today.