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De Novo Appeals in Virginia

Filing an appeal in the Virginia court system can be a long and complicated process. There are many potential levels that an appeals case could go through, and it takes a lot of persistence and knowledge to follow through with these cases. Each appeals case is unique and before someone moves forward, they should be sure to consider all possible factors. Contact an experienced Virginia appeals lawyer to discuss your options and whether or not you should go forward with your appeal.

What is a De Novo Appeal in Virginia

De novo is a Latin phrase that means, basically, “as new.” A de novo appeal is an appeal where the appellate court is not bound by any of the determinations made by the trial court. If a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor or a traffic offense in the General District Court, then that conviction has no bearing on anything that the Circuit Court has to do in the de novo appeal. De novo also is a standard of review in other appellate cases.

If a case appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals from the Virginia Circuit Court involves strictly a question of law that only involves a ruling that the trial court made about the law and not about the facts, then the appellate court will not give deference to the trial court on that ruling. They will review it de novo in the sense that the trial court’s determination of the law will not factor into their consideration of the law.

Are De Novo Appeals Only for Circuit Court?

It depends on what is meant by “de novo” appeals. The term “de novo” just means “from new.” In the Circuit Court, the appeals are de novo and the entire proceeding is wiped clean, with the court hearing the matter from new. However, “de novo” is also a standard of review. Courts evaluate different matters and give the trial courts different levels of deference.

A ruling that a trial court makes that only involves a question of law, and that does not involve facts in any way, is reviewed by the appellate court “de novo,” which means that it does not matter how the trial court came to its conclusion. If it is purely a question of law, the Virginia appellate court won’t give the trial court deference. They will hear the issue as if it hadn’t been determined.

Initiating the Appeals Process in Virginia

The appellate process is initiated by filing a notice of appeal. If it is an appeal from the General District Court to the Circuit Court, then the person filing the appeal and their Virginia appeals attorney will have to file notice within 10 days of the final judgment.

If it is an appeal from the Circuit Court to the Court of Appeals such as the Supreme Court, then notice must be filed by the client or an attorney to the court that it is being appealed from and then a petition will be filed in the appellate court outlining the reasons why the appeal should be heard.

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