Appeal a sentence or conviction

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 do not, you will 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 (external link) before you appeal. 

How to appeal  

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

If you went to your trial  

Download and fill in the appeal to the crown court form that relates to your crime or sentence (external link). Send the form by post or email. The address is on the form. 

If you were convicted at a magistrates’ court but sentenced at a crown court, follow the rules for appealing a crown court verdict (external link)

If you did not go to your trial  

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

You might not have attended your trial if you: 

  • did not realise you had been convicted of an offence, for example a speeding fine 
  • were unable to enter a plea or mitigation at the time 

They will 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 will 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 will 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 will be told whether you have won your appeal at the hearing. You will 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 cannot be restarted once it has 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 (external link)

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.