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Civil & Federal Appeals Lawyers in Florida

Florida address – by appointment only:
2250 Southwest 3rd Ave, 4th Floor
Miami, FL 33129
Linda Julin McNamara
Attorney Linda Julin McNamara
Federal Appeals Team Lead
Former Deputy Chief, Appellate Division
Elizabeth Stepp
Attorney Elizabeth K. Stepp
Federal Appeals Team Lead
Partner & Yale Graduate
Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Federal Appeals Team Lead
envelope iconContact Nick

A conviction for a civil or federal offense in Florida is a life-altering event. If you were charged with a crime and took it to trial to defend your rights and your future, but then the jury issued a guilty verdict, it can be a stunning turn. Suddenly, the potential penalties of a conviction become very concrete after learning what they will be during the sentencing hearing.

The good news in this difficult time is that you still have the right to appeal your federal conviction, the sentence that you received, or both. By appealing your case to a higher federal court, you can get your case reviewed by a panel of even more experienced judges than the one that oversaw your conviction in a Florida district court.

However, winning on appeal is not easy. Having the experienced federal appeals lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. on your side can significantly increase your odds of overturning your conviction.

The Steps in the Federal Criminal Justice System Culminate in the Appeals Process

While every criminal trial is unique, the criminal justice system follows a series of increasingly precarious steps that can turn a criminal suspect into a defendant, and then a defendant into a convict.

Things start when federal law enforcement agents learn of a potential violation of federal law. They can learn this on their own or through a tipster. If their subsequent investigation uncovers evidence that a crime was, in fact, committed, the investigation will look even closer. When prosecutors believe that they have probable cause, they will present their case to a Florida grand jury. If the grand jury agrees that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed, it will indict you and you will get arrested.

You will then be brought to the Florida district courthouse that has jurisdiction over your case for your arraignment. This is when you will be informed of the charges against you and where you either plead guilty or not-guilty. When you plead not-guilty, a date will be set for your criminal trial.

In the time between your arraignment and your trial date, your defense lawyer and the prosecution team will gather evidence. Plea negotiations will commence. Most federal criminal allegations are resolved through a plea deal. However, defendants who accept a plea bargain generally give up their right to appeal their case.

If you do not take a plea deal, your case will go to trial. The prosecutor will present their case that you committed the crime that you have been accused of committing. Your defense team will try to undermine the incriminating evidence and will often present evidence of a legal defense to actively combat the charges.

However, in some cases even the best defense strategy is not enough to keep the jury from finding you guilty. If this happens, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled. At this hearing, the judge will impose the sentence for your conviction and you will begin serving it.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden



Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney


Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

How the Appeals Process Works

At this point, you can invoke your right to appeal your criminal conviction, the sentence you have received, or both. To invoke this right, you and your lawyer have to file a Notice of Appeal with the court that held your trial within 14 days.

The district court will then send the record of your trial to the appeals court. After filing more paperwork with the appellate court, your appeals attorney will determine which grounds to base your appeal on.

This is where many people become confused about the appeals process.

Contrary to popular belief, you will not get a new trial in the appeals court. In fact, new evidence is generally prohibited from being presented.

Instead, the entire appeals process is a close review of the conduct of the district court that held your trial. It is up to you, the appellant, to point to a mistake, error, or abuse of discretion by the district court. You have to show that it affected your case. This is your ground for appeal. In some cases, there are several grounds of appeal to raise before the appeals court. The decision of which ground to invoke for your appeal and how to argue it can make or break an appeals case.

Once the legal issue has been chosen for your appeal, your lawyer will research and write a legal brief that explains to the appellate judges how the district court messed up your trial, how badly it affected the outcome, and what the appeals court should do about it. Meanwhile, the prosecution team will be crafting their own legal brief, urging the appeals court to affirm your conviction.

Based on the record of the trial, these legal briefs, and sometimes the results of an oral argument between the lawyers, the appeals judges will make their ruling.

If the appeals court affirms your conviction, you can ask them to rehear the case with a larger panel of judges. If this is denied, you can ask the Supreme Court of the United States to hear your case.

Where This All Happens in Florida

When you are charged with a federal offense, the federal criminal justice system will handle your case rather than the Florida state criminal justice system.

This means that the prosecutors will come from huge law enforcement agencies, like the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), rather than from a much smaller Florida district attorneys’ office.

It also means that your case will be handled by the U.S. District Court in Florida. There are three districts in the state.

All of these district courts fall under the jurisdiction of a single federal appellate court.

The Southern District of Florida

First, there is the Southern District of Florida. The Southern District has jurisdiction over federal criminal cases filed in the following counties:

  • Broward
  • Dade
  • Highlands
  • Indian River
  • Martin
  • Monroe
  • Okeechobee
  • Palm Beach
  • St. Lucie

This District has seven courthouse locations:

  1. The Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Courthouse at 400 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33128
  2. The C. Clyde Atkins U.S. Courthouse at 301 North Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33128
  3. The James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building at 99 Northeast Fourth Street, Miami, FL 33132
  4. The U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse at 299 East Broward Boulevard #108, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
  5. The Paul G. Rogers Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse at 701 Clematis Street, Room 202, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
  6. The Alto Lee Adams, Sr. U.S. Courthouse at 101 South U.S. Highway 1, Room #1016, Ft. Pierce, FL 34950
  7. The Sidney M. Aronovitz U.S. Courthouse at 301 Simonton Street, Key West, FL 33040

The Northern District of Florida

There is also the Northern District of Florida. This court has jurisdiction over the following counties:

  • Alachua
  • Bay
  • Calhoun
  • Dixie
  • Escambia
  • Franklin
  • Gadsden
  • Gilchrist
  • Gulf
  • Holmes
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Lafayette
  • Leon
  • Levy
  • Liberty
  • Madison
  • Okaloosa
  • Santa Rosa
  • Taylor
  • Wakulla
  • Walton
  • Washington

It has three courthouse locations:

  1. 401 Southeast First Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32601
  2. 1 North Palafox Street, Pensacola, FL 32502
  3. 111 North Adams Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301

The Middle District of Florida

Finally, there is the Middle District of Florida. It has jurisdiction over federal criminal cases originating from the following counties in the state:

  • Baker
  • Bradford
  • Brevard
  • Charlotte
  • Citrus
  • Clay
  • Collier
  • Columbia
  • De Soto
  • Duval
  • Flagler
  • Glades
  • Hamilton
  • Hardee
  • Hendry
  • Hernando
  • Hillsborough
  • Lake
  • Lee
  • Manatee
  • Marion
  • Nassau
  • Orange
  • Osceola
  • Pasco
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Putnam
  • St. Johns
  • Sarasota
  • Seminole
  • Sumter
  • Suwannee
  • Union
  • Volusia

The Middle District of Florida has five courthouse locations:

  1. 2110 First Street, Fort Myers, Florida 33901
  2. The Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse at 300 North Hogan Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202
  3. The Golden-Collum Memorial Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse at 207 Northwest Second Street, Ocala, Florida 34475
  4. The George C. Young Federal Annex Courthouse at 401 West Central Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32801
  5. The Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse at 801 North Florida Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33602

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

All three of the district courts in Florida, as well as the district courts in Alabama and Georgia, are under the jurisdiction of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the federal court that will hear your appeal. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Elbert P. Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building at 56 Forsyth Street, N.W., Atlanta, Georgia 30303.

Frequently Asked Questions About Appeals and Oberheiden P.C.

Will I Get a New Trial If I Appeal?


Not right away. The appellate court will not hold a new trial. Instead, they will review the lower court’s decision for mistakes or errors.

If you win your appeal, the appeals court may tell the lower court to retry your case.

What Sets Oberheiden P.C. Apart from Other Appeals Firms?


First, our law firm is staffed with senior-level lawyers, all of whom have numerous years of experience handling federal criminal cases on appeal. Many of them came to our firm after long careers as prosecutors, agents, and investigators within some of the same federal law enforcement agencies that may be behind your own case.

Second, our firm only has those senior-level attorneys. All of the work product that we provide is done by an experienced attorney, not some junior associate or paralegal.

Finally, unlike other law firms, we focus our practice on federal law, not state law in Florida. We are accustomed to going up against the resources and the manpower that the DOJ brings to the table without backing down or getting intimidated.

Why Don’t You Call Yourselves the Best Appellate Law Firm in Florida?


Because that sort of thing means far more when it comes from our prior clients in the testimonials that they have provided about our firm.

Reach Out to Oberheiden P.C. for a Strong Appellate Voice in Florida

If you have been convicted for a federal offense in Florida and you want to appeal, you need to act quickly. Call Oberheiden P.C. at 305-928-8505 or contact us online.

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