6. After sentencing

After sentencing, a few things can happen. In some cases, the defendant may be able to challenge the decision or sentence by filing an appeal. There are strict deadlines to meet.


After serving a sentence, the defendant may be able to ask to have their record cleaned. How or if someone can do this depends on many factors.

Appealing a conviction or sentence

Someone found guilty at a trial has a right to an appeal

An appeal is not a new trial. The appellate court decides if there were any legal errors that changed the outcome of the case. The appellate court does not decide the facts of the case as the judge or jury in the trial court does.

There are many reasons for an appeal of a criminal case, but appeals are also very difficult. If you´re considering an appeal, you should talk to a lawyer.

There are limited reasons why a defendant can appeal. Learn more
In an appeal, the defendant can argue:
  • There was not enough evidence in the trial to justify the verdict or judgment
  • There were mistakes of law during or before the trial that hurt their case
Victims have a right to know the status of any appeal.

To appeal, a defendant must file a notice by a deadline

For misdemeanor cases, the defendant must file a Notice of Appeal (Misdemeanor) (form CR-132) within 30 days of the date of the judgment or order.

For felony cases, a defendant must file a Notice of Appeal — Felony (Defendant) (form CR-120) within 60 days of the date of the judgment or order.

In addition to appealing after a trial, there are other situations when a defendant can file an appeal, like appealing the validity of a plea or probation violations. 

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Talk to a lawyer for more information about appeals. You can also get more information about misdemeanor appeals in Information on Appeal Procedures in Misdemeanors. Misdemeanor appeals are handled in the superior court. Felony appeals are handled in the California Court of Appeal.

Cleaning a record

There are different ways someone can try to reduce the impact of their criminal record. This is called cleaning a record. It usually happens after someone has served their sentence and does not have any other criminal charges pending. In some cases, this can help with getting a job or housing. Not everyone is eligible. 


How to clean a record

The criminal case is complete.

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