Because most prosecutors will require a defendant to waive his or her right to appeal as part of a plea-bargain, criminal appeals usually come from cases that go all the way to trial. In the State of Florida, the overwhelming majority of criminal defendants are indigent, and qualify for and enjoy the services of the Public Defender. However, any Florida citizen with means to afford private counsel may request a substitution of counsel. This substitution can occur before trial or after trial, in the event that the citizen wishes to hire private counsel to handle the appeal. In this event, during the time when the citizen is actively looking for private appellate counsel, the Public Defender’s office will make sure to protect their client by filing a notice of appeal within the required timeline.

A criminal defendant must wait until the end of their case to file an appeal, even if they want to appeal a pre-trial decision. However, the State of Florida can file appeals over certain pretrial orders that are outlined in Fla. R. App. P. 9.140.

When a Florida citizens wishes to appeal a final order in a criminal case, as with all other types of appeal, the notice of appeal must be filed within thirty days of the sentence to be appealed. However, important deadlines expire before this time in a criminal case. For example a motion for new trial must be made within 15 days of receiving the verdict, which falls on a different date than the rendition date of the judgment. Often times it is a requirement that certain motions or objections be made before an appeal can be taken, or else the reviewing court will find that the issue was preserved for appeal. For this reason, it is a good idea to bring in appellate counsel before your case goes to trial, in order to protect your rights during and after the trial.

Post-Conviction Motions

If a criminal appeal is filed and is not successful, there is one last opportunity for those convicted of a crime. A post-conviction motion, normally referred to as a 3.850 motion, is a motion to the trial court that must be filed within two years of the date the sentence became final. However, most 3.850 motions are filed within one-year, as the 3.850 motion must be filed before a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Subject to a few exceptions, including ineffective assistance of counsel, the post-conviction motion must allege claims that were already brought to the attention of the trial court during the trial or in a motion for new trial.

The majority of 3.850 motions allege that either trial or appellate counsel was ineffective, and thus deprived the defendant of his or her constitutional right of effective assistance of counsel. Prior to filing a 3.850 motion on behalf of a client, Warren Law Firm will conduct significant investigation to analyze the potential strength of the case. This includes reviewing trial transcripts and all correspondence between the client and his or her former attorney. In the cases where we cannot file the 3.850 motion, we offer advocacy on behalf of incarcerated client, to include assistance with applying for a good adjustment transfer to a safer or more convenient facility. The stated criteria for a good adjustment transfer is provided below.

Transfer criteria: 

  • at least one (1) year at current facility or at least one (1) year total including other Department of Correction state facilities if there were no negative transfers in the last year, and the earliest release date is two (2) to ten (10) years away
  • currently housed in general population or protective management
  • is not at current location for a temporary reason (i.e. Reception, Medical Services).
  • has earned gain time awards of at least overall satisfactory evaluations for the last twelve (12) months.
  • has not refused to participate in or been removed from mandatory programs due to unsatisfactory participation.
  • has not been found guilty of any disciplinary reports within the last twelve (12) months.
  • has not been approved for a good adjustment transfer within the last twelve (12) months.
  • has not been released from Close Management during the last twelve (12) months.
  • has not been transferred for any negative reason during the last twelve (12) months.
  • has not requested the cancellation of an approved good adjustment transfer during the last twelve (12) months

The inmate can meet with his classification officer at the institution to find out if he’s eligible.

If you are looking to appeal a final or non-final order, contact us to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys, (727)954-3720.



The information provided by the Warren Law Firm is meant only for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not constitute legal advice. By using this content, there is NO RELATIONSHIP between you and the Warren Law Firm or The website and content provided should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.