Our experienced appeal solicitors can advise and represent you for an appeal at any court in Victoria
- If you would like the decision of a court to be reconsidered, you will need to submit a formal appeal
- Submitting an appeal can be a complicated process and may result in a higher penalty being imposed if you are found guilty again
- JDA Law’s criminal law solicitors can help you understand the appeal process and represent you in court
Need immediate advice in regards to an appeal?
Call James Dowsley & Associates 24/7 on (03) 9781 4900
What Is Criminal Appeal?
If you disagree with a judge’s decision based on a crime you’ve committed or been accused of, you can have the matter heard in an appeal court.
Everyone has the right to appeal a criminal conviction. When you appeal a judge’s order, you take the matter to a higher court to have it heard in a greater setting.
You can either challenge the fact that the judge ruled you as guilty, or you can challenge the penalty they are putting over you for committing the crime.
A major factor in the appeal process is whether a lawyer agrees that you’ve been treated unfairly and thinks you have a good chance of challenging it.
What Happens In A Criminal Appeal Hearing?
If you are considering appealing a judge’s order, keep in mind that the ramifications of the judge’s decision that you are appealing will most likely remain in place until the next hearing, unless it involves paying a fine or doing a certain amount of hours of community work.
If you are going from the magistrates court to the country court (most appeals are in this context) then there may be no jury present; the prosecutor and other previous third parties like witnesses may be present.
At the start, the appeal hearing will play out similar to the initial hearing in that you will explain what happened and why you either think you are not guilty or why the penalty is too harsh, and if there is a prosecutor involved they will also speak.
The judge can then either agree with the initial judge, give you a lighter sentence, or give you a harsher sentence.
However, for the latter, they must warn you that they are going to do this, to give you a chance of dropping the appeal altogether.
Types of Criminal Appeals
An appeal is a higher court’s review of a decision made by a lower court or tribunal.
Each court has their own appeal process and possible effect on your case. Criminal appeal lawyers can attend any court hearings you have, no matter what court it’s in.
The general hierarchy of courts in Victoria, from highest to lowest, is:
- Supreme Court of Victoria
- County Court of Victoria, Federal Circuit Court of Australia
- Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
- VCAT, Coroners Court of Victoria, Children’s Court of Victoria
See below for information on appealing decisions made by certain courts within Victoria.
Appealing a Supreme Court Decision
Appealing a County Court Decision
Appealing a Magistrates’ Court Decision
Appealing a Magistrates’ Court Decision
Magistrates’ Court decisions may be made to either the County Court, or in some cases, the Supreme Court of Victoria. You have 28 days from the date of the Magistrate’s decision to make an appeal.
Appeals to the County Court may be made:
- Against the sentence or
- Against conviction and sentence
Appeals to the Supreme Court may be made on:
- A point of law
- Convictions and sentences made by the Chief Magistrate
Once an appeal of a Magistrates’ Court decision is made to the Supreme Court, you forgo the right to appeal to the County Court at any point.
Therefore, choosing which court to appeal to if you are dissatisfied with the ruling of a Magistrates’ court is important and may have irrevocable ramifications.
Proper and specific legal advice can help you choose the most appropriate course of action for your case.
Other Appeals and Appeal Related Motions Include:
- Appealing a decision made by the Children’s Court
- Requesting a judicial review
Need a Criminal Lawyer for an Appeal Hearing?
Call JDA 24 hours a day for immediate support. Contact our criminal lawyers on (03) 9781 4900 for advice in relation to all criminal appeals matters in Victoria.