The judge just gave your ex-wife the whole house. The jury just announced a guilty verdict. You’re mad as a hornet and ready for some relief. What’s the first step?
In North Carolina state courts, an appellant — the person who wants to appeal — must file a “Notice of Appeal.” The right to appeal doesn’t last forever; the right has an expiration date that begins as soon as the final order or judgment is filed and entered. Sometimes the window of time for entering a notice of appeal is as brief as 14 days. Other times, it may be 30 days. In any case, a copy of the notice of appeal must also be given to the appellee — the person on the other side of the appeal.
Even if your trial attorney won’t be representing you on appeal, he or she can probably enter a notice of appeal for you. You may need to ask to make sure, however, that the attorney knows how to properly file such a notice. If you have any doubt, it would be best to raise your concerns with an experienced appellate attorney sooner rather than later.
One final note: if you are worried that the notice of appeal wasn’t filed in time, don’t give up hope. It is possible to get the appeal back on track, but you’ll almost certainly need an attorney’s help to do so. Also, once the notice of appeal is late, don’t make the mistake that time no longer matters. A notice filed 10 days late is much easier to fix than one filed 100 days late.