Can I appeal a criminal conviction?

By Last Updated: March 16, 2022

In Canada you can appeal a criminal conviction by appealing a finding of guilt, by appealing the sentence you received, or both. However, the appeal process in Canada is complicated and requires strict compliance with a large number of rules and procedures. As such, it is very important that you immediately seek the assistance of a criminal defence lawyer if you think you would like to appeal your conviction or your sentence. Finding and hiring a criminal defence to help you with your appeal is of utmost importance, particularly since you will have only 30 days from the date of your conviction to file your notice of appeal with the court.

If you want to appeal your decision and you have missed the 30 day deadline, there may still be a chance that you can file a notice of appeal if you are granted an extension of time by the court. When considering an application for an extension of time, the court will typically consider the following:

  • Whether you have shown a legitimate or bona fide intention to appeal your decision before the 30 days had elapsed;
  • Whether you are able to provide a good reason for failing to file your notice of appeal within the 30 day deadline; and,
  • Whether there is any merit to your appeal.

Sometimes the court will take other factors into consideration, however, the main consideration will always be whether it is interests of justice that the appeal is allowed based on the criteria outlined above.

The Right to Appeal:

While everyone has the right to try to initiate an appeal, sometimes permission of the court will be required in order for your appeal to be heard. Leave to appeal, or permission to appeal, will be required when you are appealing a sentence or when you making an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeal process is further complicated by the fact that sometimes you might be limited to raising your appeal on only certain grounds. For example, if you are appealing a conviction of an indictable matter, you will only be allowed to appeal because the law was not interpreted or applied properly in your case. If you want to appeal because you think the the judge misinterpreted or misapplied the facts of your case, you will have to ask for leave of the court to do so.

Given the complicated nature of this process, if you are considering initiating an appeal contact our one of our defence lawyers immediately. We have experience dealing with a wide range of criminal appeals and will be able to help you assess the merit of your appeal, and can provide you with full and effective representation throughout the entire process.

About The Author

Michael Oykhman

Managing Partner

Michael Oykhman is a senior lawyer and founder of Strategic Criminal Defence, a full-service criminal law firm with central law offices across Western Canada and Ontario.

My professional experience consists of countless court appearances and thousands of successful defences and satisfied clients. Over the last 10 years, I have worked to build a law office where all the lawyers share our collective experience, resources, and passion to help people. Our team approach to legal representation is client–rather than only law–centred. We look for opportunities to add value to our clients through strategic thinking and creative solutions.

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