How do I appeal a magistrates’ court conviction?

How you appeal will depend on whether you went to your trial. It will also depend on whether you were sentenced at a magistrates’ court or a Crown Court. 

If you were sentenced at a Crown Court, find out more about how to appeal here.

Appeal a magistrates’ court verdict 

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 can I 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. The magistrates’ court where you had your trial will tell you how to do this. 

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

If you went to your trial 

Download and fill in the ‘Appeal to the Crown Court’ form that relates to your crime or sentence [link to: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/forms#Anchor9]. Send the form by post or email. The address is on the form. 

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. Mitigation, or mitigating factors are things that could reduce the level of blame or responsibility you might have.  

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’ll 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 at the end of the hearing whether you’ve won your appeal. You’ll also be sent a copy of the judge’s decision by post. 

How do I stop my 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. [Insert link to: http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/docs/october-2015/acc002-eng.pdf

You must also send a copy to any other parties involved in the case, for example a prosecutor. 

What happens if I win my appeal? 

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

If you win your appeal against your sentence, it will be reduced.  

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

What happens if I lose my appeal? 

Your original sentence or conviction might change. 

This information has been based on https://www.gov.uk/appeal-magistrates-court-decision 

Links 

https://www.gov.uk/appeal-against-sentence-conviction

https://www.gov.uk/appeal-against-sentence-conviction/crown-court-verdict

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/criminal/forms#Anchor9

https://www.defence-barrister.co.uk/appealing-against-a-crown-court-conviction

https://www.stephensons.co.uk/site/individuals/srvcriminal/appeal_solicitors/crimappeals/

https://www.autism.org.uk/cjs

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