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The Deadline to File a Notice of Appeal in California Court Cases

In California, untimely notices of appeal can often result in a waiver of the right to appeal altogether. This article takes a look at the deadlines.

Perhaps the most important question in pursuing an appeal is determining when a party is required to file the notice of appeal. If a party misses the deadline to file a notice of appeal, they could lose their right to appeal.1

In fact, the due date for the notice of appeal is often jurisdictional. Meaning, the court usually has no authority to extend the time for filing or to excuse a tardy notice of appeal.2

Of course, the safest practice is to file the notice of appeal as soon as possible after the appealable judgment or order is entered. But this article takes a closer look at the applicable deadlines in civil and criminal cases before California state courts.

The Deadline in Civil Cases

A notice of appeal may be filed after the appealable judgment or order is entered.3 The deadline for filing the notice of appeal will depend on when the judgment or order from which the appeal is taken has been entered, and how it was served.

When a Judgment or Order Is “Entered”

A judgment or order is entered when it is filed with the clerk of the superior court.4 The clerk will either stamp the document with the date of filing or will electronically affix a filing date to the document.

If the court has “rendered” its order or judgment, but has not formally “entered” it, the notice of appeal is technically premature. An order or judgment is rendered at the moment the judge signs it, but it is entered only when it is filed with the clerk of the superior court.5 Even though the notice of appeal in this situation is premature, the court will accept it and treat it as being timely filed immediately after entry of the order or judgment.6

If the court has announced its order or judgment, but has not formally entered or rendered it, the notice of appeal is premature. Unlike rendered judgments, however, the court is not required to accept it. Rather, the court of appeal has discretion to treat the notice of appeal as timely filed, but is not required to do so.7

Calculating the Deadline

Once the appealable order or judgment has been entered, the next question is whether the clerk of the superior court or any party has served a document called a “notice of entry of judgment” or a filed-endorsed copy of the judgment. Like the name implies, a notice of entry of judgment notifies all parties that the judgment has been entered.

In unlimited civil cases in California state courts, the applicable deadline for will usually be the earliest8 of the following:

  • If a notice of entry of judgment or a filed-endorsed copy of the judgment was served on or served by the party filing the notice of appeal, the time for filing the notice of appeal is 60 days after judgment was entered.9 This is the deadline in most unlimited civil appeals.
  • If no notice of entry of judgment or filed-endorsed copy of the judgment has been served, the time for filing the notice of appeal is 180 days after judgment was entered.10

There are, of course, exceptions to these deadlines. Some statutes or court rules might shorten or lengthen the time to appeal in certain circumstances.11

The Deadline in Criminal Cases

In criminal cases, the applicable deadline for filing the notice of appeal will depend on whether the case is a misdemeanor or a felony.

Deadline in Misdemeanor Cases

In misdemeanor cases, the notice of appeal must normally be filed within 30 days of the judgment12 or, if the party is appealing a specific order, the party must file the notice of appeal within 30 days of the making of that order.13 Additionally, if the party filing the appeal is the defendant, and the defendant was committed for insanity or narcotics addiction before a final judgment was rendered, the notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of the commitment.14

Deadline in Felony Cases

In felony cases, the notice of appeal must be filed no later than 60 days after the date of the judgment (which, in most cases, is the date of sentencing).15 If the appealing party is challenging an appealable order other than a judgment, the notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days of the making of the order being appealed.16

Exception for Prisoners

In most cases, the notice of appeal must actually be delivered and filed with the court within this 60- or 30-day window. California courts have, however, created an exception for self-represented criminal defendants who are incarcerated in prison—called the “prison-delivery” rule.17 Under the prison-delivery rule, a prisoner’s notice of appeal is deemed timely filed if delivered to prison authorities within the normal 60 or 30-day filing period.18 Because complications in delivery and filing can arise, criminal defendants should avoid relying on this rule if at all possible.

The California Supreme Court has suggested that there may be other exceptions to the normal 60- or 30-day deadline,19 but defendants should nevertheless make every effort to file their appeal within the normal 60- or 30-day filing deadline, so as to ensure that their appeal is timely filed.

Where the Notice of Appeal Is Filed

The notice of appeal and the attached proof of service must be filed with the clerk of the superior court that entered the judgment or order that is being appealed.20 The clerk’s office can direct you to the appropriate counter or room where the notice of appeal should be filed or mailed to.

In civil cases, a $775 filing fee is usually required to be paid when the notice of appeal is filed.21

It may also be necessary to serve the notice of appeal on all opposing parties in the case before the notice of appeal is filed.22 A signed proof of service would then be attached to the notice of appeal. At that point, the notice of appeal is ready to be filed.


  1. In re Benoit (1973) 10 Cal.3d 72, 79 n.7 [“‘In both civil and criminal cases the time requirements for taking an appeal are mandatory, and appellate courts are without jurisdiction to consider a late appeal.'”], citation omitted.

    Footnote 1
  2. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104(b); Hollister Convalescent Hosp., Inc. v. Rico (1975) 15 Cal.3d 660, 668 [“the time for filing an appeal is mandatory and jurisdictional.”].

    Footnote 2
  3. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.100, subd. (b)(1).

    Footnote 3
  4. Code Civ. Proc., § 668.5; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104.

    Footnote 4
  5. Code Civ. Proc., § 668.5; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104.

    Footnote 5
  6. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104, subd. (d)(1).

    Footnote 6
  7. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104, subd. (d)(2).

    Footnote 7
  8. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104, subd. (a) [“[A] notice of appeal must be filed on or before the earliest of: . . . .”].

    Footnote 8
  9. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104, subd. (a)(1) & (a)(2).

    Footnote 9
  10. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.104, subd. (a)(3).

    Footnote 10
  11. See, e.g., Cal. Rules of Court, rules 8.108 [extending the time to appeal in certain situations], 8.702, subd. (b)(1) [providing a shorter deadline in CEQA cases].

    Footnote 11
  12. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.853, subd. (a).

    Footnote 12
  13. Id.

    Footnote 13
  14. Id.

    Footnote 14
  15. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.308, subd. (a).

    Footnote 15
  16. Id.

    Footnote 16
  17. Silverbrand v. County of Los Angeles (2009) 46 Cal.4th 106, 121.

    Footnote 17
  18. In re Jordan (1992) 4 Cal.4th 116, 118–120.

    Footnote 18
  19. In re Benoit, supra, 10 Cal.3d 72, 89 [suggesting that a criminal defendant’s reasonable reliance on a trial attorney’s express promise to timely file a notice of appeal may create an exception to the normal 60- or 30-day filing deadline].

    Footnote 19
  20. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.100, subd. (a)(1).

    Footnote 20
  21. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.100, subd. (b)(1).

    Footnote 21
  22. Cal. Rules of Court, rules 8.25, subd. (a)(1), 8.100, subd. (a)(1).

    Footnote 22
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