Civil cases

If you feel that your trial in the District Court didn’t go well, and you want to appeal to the Circuit Court, you need to note your appeal promptly — within 10 days. You don’t need to have a particular reason — you are entitled to a new trial in the Circuit Court.  If you want to appeal a District Court decision, call us right away at 434-293-8185.

If you feel that your trial in the Circuit Court didn’t go well, and you want to appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court (for most cases) or to the Virginia Court of Appeals (divorce/child custody cases), we would be happy to help.  We have experience with appeals in civil cases, ranging from domestic relations cases to real estate disputes to personal injury actions.  There are a few warnings, though:

  • You generally can’t appeal on the basis of  “the judge or jury believed the wrong side.”  You can generally only appeal errors of law that the judge may have made.  Perhaps he gave an incorrect jury instruction, or allowed inadmissible evidence to come in.  But not “I can’t believe that the judge believed their lying witness.”
  • You can only appeal from issues that your lawyer at trial preserved at trial.  If your lawyer didn’t object to the evidence that you are upset about, or if she didn’t submit a jury instruction that you wish had been given, your appeal won’t be successful.  And if you didn’t have a court reporter and didn’t have a transcript made of the trial, you may have a very difficult time on appeal.
  • The odds of getting an appeal granted by the Virginia Supreme Court are very low — probably less than 1 chance in 50.  With a good lawyer, those chances can be increased, but no honest lawyer will be able to tell you that the Supreme Court will grant your appeal and reverse the lower court decision.
  • You will have to pay the costs of having the transcript typed up, and you will have to pay attorneys’ fees.  The expense of the transcript could range from $300 for a short trial to $1,000 or more for a longer trial.  Attorney’s fees for a full appeal could easily hit $10,000, or more.

Nonetheless, if you feel that your case should be appealed, please call us at 434-293-8185.