Appeals

Denver Appeals Lawyers

Appellate Attorneys

Springer & Steinberg, P.C. is capable of handling difficult cases from start to finish, including if cases need to go through an appeal. Our Denver appellate attorneys are often called upon by individuals and local law firms alike who need to take a case to an appeal or who need to defend against an appeal. It is our goal to bring your case or your client’s case to its most favorable outcome possible.

What is an Appeal?

When a court case ends under questionable circumstances, an appeal can help set things right. The basic concept of an appeal is asking a higher court to review what happened in a lower court to see if any issues occurred that would render the case result legally invalid. Depending on where the initial case originated, appeals of Colorado cases usually begin by going to a state district court in the same county as the court that handled the case initially, or to the Colorado Court of Appeals. From there, a case may be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

When is an Appeal Allowed?

Cases cannot be appealed simply because you or your client did not like the case result. There must be a recognizable legal issue to contest. The issue must have also made an impact on the case result, meaning legal mistakes do not necessarily validate the need for an appeal on their own.

An appeal can be used if the original or lower case involved:

  • Factual misunderstanding of available evidence
  • Procedural mistakes, such as wrongful suppression of evidence
  • Violations of a party’s rights
  • Sentencing or court orders are considered objectively excessive

Many law firms throughout Colorado come to our law firm to help evaluate whether a client’s case should be appealed. Pursuing an appeal when it is inappropriate can waste a client’s valuable time and resources.


To learn more about our appellate services, call (303) 861-2800.


How an Appeal Can Conclude

There are a few ways an appeal can typically end:

  • Lower court’s finding is upheld, which may call for yet another appeal

  • Higher court changes the lower court’s ruling
  • Higher court dismisses the case due to uncorrectable legal errors
  • Case is sent back to the lower court for additional proceedings

When a case must be retried or revisited, only evidence available in the original case can be used for future proceedings. In many ways, the case must be repeated as closely as possible to the original case, except this time the factual or legal mistakes that invalidated the original result must be avoided.


Get our appellate attorneys on your side today. Fill out an online contact form now.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a legal proceeding in which an appellant asks for a higher court to overturn the decision of a lower court. There are two types of appeals: de novo appeals and appeals from a court of record.

A de novo appeal starts everything over again. It is as if the legal proceeding in the lower court never happened. It gives you – the appellant – an opportunity to try your case again without having to show that the lower court made a mistake.

An appeal from a court of record is very different from a de novo appeal. Instead of automatically giving you a new trial, an appeal from a court of record is a review of what the lower court did. It is like a teacher grading an exam. Only the information presented to the lower court can be considered, so no new evidence or arguments can be submitted. You must show that the lower court erred before you can get a new trial.

How do I file an appeal?

How you file an appeal depends on whether you are in municipal, state, or federal court, what level of court you are in, the court you are appealing to, and whether your case is civil or criminal. The process to file an appeal can be complicated and confusing, so this answer only addresses the general rules governing how to file an appeal. Your case may require you to follow different procedures. It is always best to discuss how to file an appeal with a qualified appellate attorney.

There are three categories of courts in Colorado:

  • Municipal courts, which are operated by different municipalities throughout the state.
  • State courts, which are operated by the state of Colorado and include county courts, district courts, the Colorado Court of Appeals, and the Colorado Supreme Court.
  • Federal courts, which are operated by the United States of America and include tax courts, bankruptcy courts, bankruptcy appellate panels, district courts, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Filing an Appeal in Municipal and State Courts

How to appeal from a municipal court depends on whether the court is a court of record or not. A court of record is a court that records proceedings with audio recording devices and/or court transcribers. Appeals from municipal courts of record are to Colorado’s district courts. Appeals from municipal courts that are not of record are to Colorado’s county courts.

  • To appeal from a municipal court, you must file a notice of appeal with the municipal court clerk and docket the appeal with the court hearing your appeal.
  • To appeal from a county court, you must file a notice of appeal with the county court clerk and docket your appeal with the district court.
  • To appeal from a district court, you must file a notice of appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals.
  • To appeal from the Colorado Court of Appeals, you must file a petition for writ of certiorari with the Colorado Supreme Court. Technically, this petition is not actually an appeal. It is a request for the Colorado Supreme Court to hear your appeal.

Generally, there is no appeal from the Colorado Supreme Court. However, if your case involves a question of United States law, you can file a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court and ask for it to accept your appeal.

Filing an Appeal in Federal Courts

If you are appealing from a federal court, you must consider the following:

  • To appeal from a tax court, you must file a notice of appeal with the tax court clerk.
  • To appeal from a bankruptcy court, you must file a notice of appeal with the bankruptcy court clerk and specify whether you are appealing to the district court or the bankruptcy appellate panel.
  • To appeal from a district court, you must file a notice of appeal with the district court clerk and specify to which circuit court you are appealing. Usually, an appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Colorado is to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
  • To appeal from a United States court of appeal, generally, you must file a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. There is no appeal from the United States Supreme Court.

What documents do I need to file with my appeal?

Again, an appeal is generally initiated by filing a notice of appeal. Sometimes it is initiated by filing a petition for writ of certiorari. Usually, depending on the court you are appealing from, you must also file a designation of record or designation of transcripts. In civil cases, an appeal bond is generally required. Some courts also require you to file a docketing statement.

What costs are associated with an appeal?

There are multiple costs associated with filing an appeal. There are docketing fees, transcript fees, costs to print briefs, and filing fees.

How long do I have to file an appeal?

Your deadline to file an appeal depends on what court you are appealing from and, in some instances, whether your case is civil or criminal.

Municipal, County & District Court Appeal Deadlines

There are multiple deadlines to file appeals from decisions in municipal and state courts, including:

  • Appeal from a municipal court that is not of record: Filed within 14 days of entry of a final order
  • Appeal from a municipal court that is of record: Filed within 35 days of entry of a final order
  • Appeal from a county court in a civil case: Filed within 14 days of entry of a final order
  • Appeal from a county court in a criminal case: Filed within 35 days of entry of a final order
  • Appeal from a district court: Filed within 49 days of entry of a final order

Additionally, if you wish to appeal from a decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals, you must file your petition for writ of certiorari with the Colorado Supreme Court within 42 days of when the Court of Appeals issued its opinion. But, if you filed a petition for reconsideration, you must file your petition of writ of certiorari within 28 days of when the Court of Appeals denied your petition for reconsideration.

If your case involves a question of United States law and you wish to appeal to the United States Supreme Court, you must file your petition for writ of certiorari within 90 days of when the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion.

Federal Court Appeal Deadlines

There are also multiple deadlines to file appeals from decisions in federal courts, including:

  • Appeal from a tax court: Filed within 90 days of the entry of a final order
  • Appeal from a bankruptcy court: Filed within 14 days of entry of a final order
  • Appeal from a district court in a civil case: Filed within 30 days of a final order
  • Appeal from a district court in a criminal case: Filed within 14 days of a final order

Lastly, if you wish to appeal from a decision of one of the United States courts of appeal, you must file your petition for writ of certiorari within 90 days of when the court of appeals issued its opinion.

What happens if I miss the deadline to file my appeal?

If you miss the deadline to file your appeal, you lose. The time to file an appeal is jurisdictional. If you miss the deadline, the appellate court does not have the authority to hear your case.

Representation for Appealing Plaintiffs or Defendants

Springer & Steinberg, P.C. in Denver is well-versed in appellate proceedings from both sides of a case. While we are often asked to help a law firm appeal for their client in personal injury or criminal defense cases, we can also lend our legal talents and insight to defend against an appeal. In civil cases like injury claims, appeals can be brought by either side, but the government cannot appeal a criminal case that reached a not guilty verdict.

In any situation, you cannot risk handling an appeal without knowing the intricacies of the appellate court systems. Leave the difficult details to us, so you can focus on other matters in your life or other client cases on your desk.

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