how long does the whole appeal process take? 

The duration of the criminal appeals process in Texas can vary significantly based on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the workload of the appellate court, and whether the appeal progresses to higher appellate courts. Here's a general breakdown of the timeline and factors that can affect how long the process might take:

Initial Filing to Decision

  1. Notice of Appeal: Must be filed shortly after the conviction, usually within 30 days.
  2. Record Preparation: The trial court clerk and court reporter prepare the trial record, which can take several months.
  3. Briefing Schedule: Once the record is prepared, the appellate court sets deadlines for briefs from both the appellant (the person appealing the conviction) and the appellee (usually the state). This process can span several months.
  4. Oral Arguments: If the court decides to hear oral arguments, scheduling these can add additional time.
  5. Decision: After briefs are filed and oral arguments (if any) are heard, the court will make a decision. This phase can last from a few months to over a year, depending on the case's complexity and the court's backlog.

Overall Timeline

On average, the appeals process in Texas can take anywhere from six months to two years or more from the notice of appeal to a final decision by the appellate court. However, this is a general estimate, and many cases may fall outside this range.

Factors Influencing Duration

  • Complexity of the Case: More complex cases, with voluminous records or numerous legal issues, may take longer for the court to review.
  • Appellate Court Backlog: The caseload and efficiency of the specific appellate court handling the appeal can significantly impact processing times.
  • Further Appeals: If the case is appealed to a higher court, such as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals or even the U.S. Supreme Court, the process extends with each additional level of appeal.
  • Motions and Requests: Motions filed during the appeals process, requests for extended briefing deadlines, and other procedural matters can also add time.


The criminal appeals process in Texas is complex and time-consuming, reflecting the careful consideration necessary to review trial court proceedings. While awaiting the outcome can be challenging for appellants and their families, understanding that this thorough review is crucial for ensuring justice can provide some comfort. Working with experienced appellate attorneys who can navigate the nuances of the appellate system and advocate effectively on your behalf is essential to managing this process.