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Direct Appeal

If you had a trial and were convicted, you are entitled to a direct appeal. This is where you are arguing to an appellate court that the lower court (your trial court) made mistakes in your trial. You are asking the appellate court to say that because of those errors, you are entitled to a new trial. If you entered a guilty plea, you are typically not entitled to a direct appeal. However, if you and the prosecutor agreed that you would be able to appeal a certain issue (or issues) as part of your plea agreement, you may be entitled to an appeal on your plea of guilty.  

If you have a trial in district court, you appeal your case to the circuit court in the same county. If your trial was in circuit court (a felony) then you will appeal your case to the Court of Appeals or to the Kentucky Supreme Court, depending on your final sentence. If your sentence is less than 20 years, then you appeal to the Court of Appeals. If your sentence is over 20 years, then your case is appealed directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

You only have a certain amount of time to file the necessary paperwork if you want to appeal your conviction. You must file a Notice of Appeal and a Designation of Record no later than 30 days after your trial. If you do not file this paperwork, you may give up your right to an appeal. If you cannot afford an attorney, you should also file a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. You can request samples of these motions from the clerk at your courthouse.

If you cannot afford an attorney, you are entitled to a public defender to represent you on your direct appeal. ​If you need help with your appeal, be sure to contact the Appeals Branch of the Department of Public Advocacy by EMAIL or phone at 502-564-8006.