Appealing a criminal conviction is not an automatic right. Many people do not understand how appeals work and that your case must qualify.
According to the District of Columbia Courts, you do have the right to request an appeal in any situation. However, the court does not have to take the case. You need to meet certain requirements.
Question of law
In criminal cases, your right to appeal ties to whether there is a question of law in your case. This means that there was some issue in your original case. It does not mean that you find new evidence or simply do not agree with the findings of the lower court. You need to have some legal basis upon which to make an appeal.
For example, if your attorney was guilty of malpractice in your original case or the court made a questionable ruling on an objection, then these are questions of law that could serve as a basis for the appeal.
Time limit and application
You should be aware as with everything within the criminal justice system, there is a time limit for filing your appeal. Most of the time, you must do so within 30 days of the final ruling.
However, if your conviction does not carry jail time and the penalty was under $50, you only have three days in which to file for an appeal. Another exception is if you received the court ruling via mail. In that case, you have eight days to file.
You must also use the proper forms to request the appeal. Forms may differ depending on the type of case.