The defendant has been found guilty of a crime. A written sentencing order has been filed with the clerk of the court. A notice of appeal has not yet been filed. The countdown begins. A defendant has 30 days from the date when the signed written order imposing sentence is filed with the clerk of the lower court to file a notice of appeal. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.140(b)(3); Fla. R. App. P. 9.020(i).
This 30 day countdown can be put on hold if any of the motions listed in Fla. R. App. P. 9.020(i) are authorized and timely filed with the court. For instance, if an authorized motion to correct a sentencing error (Rule 3.800(b) motion) is timely filed with the court, the time for filing an appeal begins to run from the date of filing a signed order disposing of that motion. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.020(i).
If the clock has begun to run and the defendant has expressed a desire to his/her trial counsel to take an appeal, then defendant’s trial counsel has an obligation to file a timely notice of appeal with the clerk of the lower court, even if the defendant will be represented on appeal by a different attorney. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.140(d)(1). The notice of appeal must bear a caption, which contains the name of the lower court, the name and designation of at least one party on each side, and the case number in the lower court. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.110(d). The notice of appeal must state “the name of the court to which the appeal is taken, the date of rendition, and the nature of the order to be reviewed” on appeal. Fla. R. App. P. 9110(d). An example of a notice of appeal is included in Fla. R. App. P. 9.900(a).
A copy of the notice of appeal must also be served on the attorney general, as well as, the state attorney handling the case at the trial level. Fla. R. App. P. 9.140(b)(3). The attorney general’s office ordinarily represents the state in all criminal appeals. If a notice of appeal is untimely then the appellate court does not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. See State ex rel. Cantera v. District Court of Appeal, Third Dist., 555 So. 2d 360 (Fla. 1990). In a criminal case, however, a defendant may be entitled to a belated appeal. See Fla. R. App. P. 9.141(c).