So you think you want to appeal your case? It happens. Maybe you didn’t like the judge on your first go-around. You obviously didn’t like the result. Maybe you think the law wasn’t applied correctly. Or maybe you want to exercise your right to a trial by jury. In any of these cases, an appeal may be in your best interest.
In Arkansas, you can appeal the result of a district court case to circuit court. You can do this if you are a criminal defendant, or a party to a civil case. The case will be appealed up to a circuit court judge and heard “de novo,” which means as if the case was brand new.
The big question is how? The procedure is somewhat complicated if you haven’t done it before. An experienced attorney can take care of all of this for you, but if you’re going to do it on your own, here’s what you need to know.
Under Arkansas District Court Rule No. 9 (for civil cases) and under Arkansas Rule of Criminal Procedure No. 36, you have 30 days from your trial date to appeal. This time period cannot be extended, so you better hurry!
The first thing you need to do is go see the district court clerk. You need to request from them a certified copy of the docket sheet. This usually costs about $5. Then you take this certified copy and you file it with the circuit court. This costs $165. THEN you will need to take that file-marked copy BACK to the district court clerk. Confused yet? Lastly, you will also need to serve the prosecutor with a file-marked copy as well.
At that point, you will have a new judge and a new opportunity to present your case. The advantages of an appeal are that you typically get a more experienced and sometimes (dare I say) more knowledgeable judge. You also get more time to prepare for your case, and a hire an attorney if you didn’t do so on the first go around. You will also have the right to demand a trial by jury if you so choose. Whatever your reason, you have the right to an appeal.
If you would like to talk to an attorney about appealing your case, contact Leslie and see what advice she may have for your specific case.