Appeals in Virginia Criminal Cases

On January 1, 2022, one of the largest shifts in criminal law occurred in the Commonwealth.  For the first time since its inception in 1985, all criminal cases that are appealed to the Court are heard.  Prior to 2022, the Court operated on a petition system where the appellant petitioned for an appeal, which was considered by one judge of the Court.  If that Judge granted the petition, the parties then filed actual briefs and a three-judge panel of the Court heard the case.  If the Judge denied the petition, they could ask for review of that denial by a three-judge panel, and if that was denied, then their appeal was not heard.

During the 2021 General Assembly session, the Court’s jurisdiction was expanded to include direct appeals on all criminal cases.   The procedure for appeal now skips over the petition process and all appeals will include full briefs.

Appeals start with a Notice of Appeal filed in the circuit court within 30 days of the final order of the circuit court.  At that point, transcripts of the trial are produced and the parties file opening briefs.  In your appeal, you can argue the Court made a mistake of fact or law, including whether there was sufficient evidence to convict.

It is important to have someone who is experienced in the Court of Appeals to handle your appeal.  Contact the criminal appellate attorneys at Winslow, McCurry & MacCormac for a free consultation on your appeal at or (804) 423-1382.