Appealing sentence or conviction

Appealing from the Magistrates

You can appeal against your conviction, sentence or both if you pleaded not guilty at your trial. If you pleaded guilty, you can only appeal against your sentence.

When to appeal

You must appeal within 21 days of the date you were sentenced.

If you do not, you’ll have to ask the Crown Court for permission before you can appeal. 

How to appeal

How you appeal will depend on whether you went to your trial. If you went to your trial it should be done using. the ‘Appeal to the Crown Court’ form that relates to your crime or sentence. Send the form by post or email. The address is on the form.

If you were convicted at a magistrates’ court but sentenced at a Crown Court, follow the rules for appealing a Crown Court verdict.

If you did not go to your trial

Contact the magistrates’ court that passed the sentence or convicted you.

You might not have attended your trial if you:

  • did not realise you’d been convicted of an offence, for example a speeding fine
  • were unable to enter a plea or mitigation at the time

They’ll let you know if the case can be reopened.

The court hearing

The court will make a decision on your appeal at a hearing. You should get a letter within 80 days of making your appeal to let you know when and where the hearing will take place. The hearing is usually held at your nearest Crown Court.

What happens at the hearing

You’ll have the chance to present your case to the judge and magistrates. Representatives from the prosecution will present the case against you. The judge might also ask you questions during the hearing. You’ll be told whether you’ve won your appeal at the hearing. You’ll also be sent a copy of the judge’s decision by post.

Stopping your appeal

You can apply to stop your appeal before the hearing. Your appeal cannot be restarted once it’s been stopped. Send a ‘notice of abandonment of appeal’ to the magistrates’ court where you had your trial and the Crown Court where your hearing will take place. You must also send a copy to any other parties involved in the case, for example a prosecutor.

Download a ‘Notice of abandonment of appeal’ (PDF, 118 KB)

If you win your appeal

If you win your appeal against your conviction, your sentence will no longer apply. You might be able to apply to get compensation.

Your sentence will be reduced if you win your appeal against it.

The court might decide you can get some of your legal costs paid back, for example your solicitor’s fee.

If you lose your appeal

Your original sentence or conviction might change.

Check with your legal adviser if you can appeal again. You might have to pay extra costs if you do.

Appeal a Crown Court verdict

You can appeal against your conviction, sentence or both. It does not matter if you pleaded guilty or not guilty.

Ask for permission to appeal

You must first apply for permission to appeal. A judge will look at your application and decide whether to give you permission.

Talk to your legal representative (if you have one) or get help from a legal adviser before you apply.

You must apply within 28 days of either:

  • the date you were convicted (even if you were sentenced at a later date) if you’re appealing against your conviction
  • the date you were sentenced if you’re appealing against your sentence

If you apply later you’ll need to explain why you could not send your application in on time. You may get an extension.

To ask for permission, download and fill in the form that relates to your crime or sentence. Send the form by post or email. The address is on the form.

If you’re in prison, you can get help filling in the form and ask about the appeals process.

If you get permission to appeal

Your appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.

You’ll get a letter before the hearing to let you know when and where it’ll take place.

Your legal representative (for example, your barrister) will present your case to the judges.

If you’re appealing a conviction, representatives from the prosecution will present the case against you. This will not always happen if you appeal against a sentence.

If you do not get permission to appeal

You’ll get a letter to let you know you have not been given permission. It’ll explain how the judge made their decision.

You have the right to renew your application and ask a ‘full court’ of 2 or 3 judges to give you permission. The letter will tell you how to do this.

If you win your appeal

Your conviction may be overturned or your sentence may be reduced (or both).

If you lose your appeal

Your original sentence or conviction will not change but you might have to:

restart your sentence from the beginning

pay the court costs

Contact the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) if you think there’s been a ‘miscarriage of justice’, for example evidence was not presented.

Stopping your appeal

You can apply to stop your appeal at any time.

To do this, you must download and fill in a ‘notice of abandonment of appeal’ form.

Rose & Dunn are specialist criminal defence and motoring law solicitors and higher courts advocates. We can be contacted at any time of day or night. If you need emergency police station assistance contact us using any of the methods below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.