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Appeals Division


An appeal is a proceeding by which a case is brought from a lower court to a higher court for rehearing or reconsideration after a judgment has been given by the lower court. The higher, or appellate court, may sustain, reverse, or modify the decision.

Most appeals are limited to a review of the record from the lower court. Parties cannot introduce new evidence and are limited to what was said and introduced at the original proceeding/trial. The appellate court reviews the lower court's application of the law to the facts as presented.

There are two main grounds for appealing a decision:

  • Evidence in the trial court was insufficient to justify the judgment/verdict.
  • Errors of law were committed.

Some appeals do allow for a new trial without reference to the evidence submitted in the original proceedings. Such an appeal results in a trial de novo, meaning a trial from the beginning. Appeals from small claims court result in a trial de novo within the Superior Court. The judge is not bound by the decision of the judge who presided in the small claims proceeding, and new evidence can be presented.

The most important act in an appeal is the timely filing of the notice of appeal. This notice must be filed before the time expires. There are many time limits and regulations in proceeding with an appeal. Failure to meet some time limits may result in dismissal of your appeal. It is very important that you review the California Rules of Court for specific information on the time restrictions and requirements for filing a notice of appeal.

Who Can File an Appeal?

  • Infraction, misdemeanor or felony: the defendant may file an appeal. In certain circumstances, the People of the State of California may file an appeal.
  • Small Claims: the defendant may file an appeal or the plaintiff may file an appeal on a defendant's claim.
  • Civil limited / unlimited: including domestic, probate and mental health, any party may file an appeal.
  • Death penalty: conviction is appealed automatically.
  • Juvenile dependency / delinquency: any party may file an appeal.

A party may represent him/her self (pro per) or select to be represented by an attorney. The party filing an appeal is called the Appellant. The party against whom an appeal is filed is called the Respondent.

Notify the court in writing by filing a Notice of Appeal. Submit appropriate filing fees. If the party is indigent (in forma pauperis), an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Order for Waiver may be filed.

No filing fee is charged for filing an appeal of an infraction, misdemeanor or any juvenile appeals. Check the current schedule of Filing Fees.

If you cannot afford to pay court fees and costs, you may qualify for a waiver of those costs.You may obtain an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs from the Civil Clerk's Office, located at: 

Anacapa Division
1100 Anacapa Street
2nd Floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107 
(805) 882-4520

Cook Division
312-C East Cook Street
Santa Maria, CA 93456-5369
(805) 614-6414

There is no charge for the application packet


-- 60 days from Order


-- Limited Civil: 30 days from Order
-- Unlimited Civil: 60 days from Order


-- Felony: 60 days from Order
-- Misdemeanor: 30 days from Order
-- Traffic: 30 days from Order
-- Death Penalty cases: Automatic


-- Notice of Intent to File a Writ Petition: 7 days from Order unless party filing was not present in Court on the day of the order and notified by mail, then it is 12 days from Order

-- Notice of Appeal: 60 days from Order

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY:   -- 60 days from Order

The Clerk’s Transcript is prepared by the Superior Court Clerk. There is no charge for the preparation of a transcript in cases falling in the Criminal Division. In criminal cases, the clerk will automatically include in the transcript all of the documents identified in the California Rules of Court.

In civil cases, there is a charge for the preparation of a transcript. A party may have additional documents and exhibits included by following the procedures given in the California Rules of Court. The expense of preparing and sending copies of the index is included in the costs paid by the appellant. Any costs must be timely paid before a clerk’s transcript will be prepared. See Filing Fee Schedule for additional costs.

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