Appeal a sentence or conviction

1. Appeal a magistrates' court verdict

You can appeal against your conviction, sentence or both if you pleaded not guilty at your trial.

If you pleaded guilty, you can only appeal against your sentence.

When to appeal

You must appeal within 21 days of the date you were sentenced.

If you don’t, you’ll have to ask the Crown Court for permission before you can appeal. The magistrates’ court where you had your trial will tell you how to do this.

Talk to your legal representative (if you have one) or get help from a legal adviser before you appeal.

How to appeal

How you appeal will depend on whether you went to your trial.

If you went to your trial

Send a ‘magistrates’ court appeal notice form’ to the magistrates’ court where your trial took place.

If you were convicted at a magistrates’ court but sentenced at a Crown Court, follow the rules for appealing a Crown Court verdict.

Read the guidance for more information on how to appeal.

If you didn’t go to your trial

Contact the magistrates’ court that passed the sentence or convicted you.

You might not have attended your trial if you:

  • didn’t realise you’d been convicted of an offence, for example a speeding fine
  • were unable to enter a plea or mitigation at the time

They’ll let you know if the case can be reopened.

The court hearing

The court will make a decision on your appeal at a hearing.

You’ll get a letter within 80 days of making your appeal to let you know when and where the hearing will take place.

The hearing is usually held at your nearest Crown Court.

What happens at the hearing

You’ll have the chance to present your case to the judge and magistrates. Representatives from the prosecution will present the case against you.

The judge might also ask you questions during the hearing.

You’ll be told whether you’ve won your appeal at the hearing. You’ll also be sent a copy of the judge’s decision by post.

Stopping your appeal

You can apply to stop your appeal before the hearing. Your appeal can’t be restarted once it’s been stopped.

Send a ‘notice of abandonment of appeal’ to the magistrates’ court where you had your trial and the Crown Court where your hearing will take place.

You must also send a copy to any other parties involved in the case, for example a prosecutor.

If you win your appeal

If you win your appeal against your conviction, your sentence will no longer apply. You might be able to apply to get compensation.

Your sentence will be reduced if you win your appeal against it.

The court might decide you can get some of your legal costs paid back, for example your solicitor’s fee.

If you lose your appeal

Your original sentence or conviction might change.

Check with your legal adviser if you can appeal again. You might have to pay extra costs if you do.