Can I Appeal?

Generally

Simply put an appeal is a review by a higher court of a lower court’s or agency’s final, sentence, judgment or decree.  In most cases an appeal is not a new trial, and no new evidence will be accepted. The only information the appellate court will consider on appeal is: 1) the written or recorded transcript of the hearing or trial, 2) any items offered as evidence at the hearing or trial, 3) the documents in the court or agency file or 4) the written briefs filed in the appeal.

The exception to the above rule is when you want to appeal the sentence you just received at justice court for a criminal or traffic offense.

An appeal of a justice court sentence goes to the district court, and results in a trial or hearing de novo. De novo means the matter is tried all over again, that you receive a new trial. This is different from other appeal procedures, in which the appellate court does not hear evidence. It is important to note you only have 30 days to file “A Notice of Appeal”  with the justice court after the judge made his/her sentence against you.  If you do not file within that small window of time, you have waived your right to an appeal of the judges sentence.  The procedures for a justice court appeal in a criminal matter are more fully layed out in Utah Rule of Criminal Procedure 38 and Utah Code Section 78A-7-118

An interesting concept about Justice Court Criminal appeals is that the Judge in the District Court can not increase a sentence above what was ordered at the Justice Level.  This is to not sway people from filing criminal appeals in Justice Court.

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