The time to get an appellate lawyer involved in your case is IMMEDIATELY. I frequently get calls from people who have been convicted of a crime, only to find that jail doesn’t suit them. They want to appeal their case, but many times I have to tell them it is too late, at least for a direct appeal.
The time limits for filing a direct appeal from a criminal case in Mississippi are:
- From Municipal or Justice Court: Any person found guilty of a criminal offense by a justice or municipal court can appeal to county court – or to circuit court if the county has no county court – within 30 days of the judgment. Uniform Circuit and County Court Rule 12.02.
- From County Court: Any person found guilty of a criminal offense by a county court can appeal to circuit court with 30 days of the final judgment. Uniform Circuit and County Court Rule 12.02.
- From Circuit Court to the Mississippi Supreme Court: Rule 4(a) of the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure states that appeals will be filed with the clerk of the trial court within 30 days after the date of the entry of the judgment or order appealed from. In criminal cases, usually there are post-trial motions filed in each case resulting in a conviction, such as a motion for judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the verdict, or a motion for a new trial. In this case, Rule 4(e) states that the 30 days begins to run from the entry of the order denying these motions, if filed. The rules state a couple of ways that these deadlines might be extended, or reopened in some certain circumstances, but your best bet is to get your appeal filed on time.
If you fail to file your Notice of Appeal on time, your next possible remedy is a petition for post-conviction relief, which involves an entirely different set of legal statndards than a direct appeal. If you have even the slightest inclination that you might want your case reviewed by a higher court, contact an appellate lawyer immediately after your trial so they may begin the process of reviewing your case.