Legal Updates

What is a De Novo Appeal?

A de novo appeal is a brand new trial on the merits.  As mentioned previously in this blog, defendant has an automatic right to appeal in Philadelphia Municipal Court.  A de novo appeal to Common Pleas court must be filed within thirty (30) days from judgment on the Municipal Court sentence.  A separate notice of appeal must be filed for each Municipal Court docket number on which there is a conviction.  A de novo appeal stays the imposition of sentence and returns defendant to his pre-Municipal Court status.  If a prison sentence is imposed in Municipal Court and no appeal is filed within thirty (30) days, then the defendant must begin to serve the sentence.  A defendant’s bail cannot be raised pending the de novo appeal.  A de novo trial is a brand new trial, and the defendant can be found guilty or not guilty.  If the defendant is found guilty, the sentence can be the same, lesser, or greater than the one received in Municipal Court.   The defendant has a right to a jury trial in Common Pleas Court on the de novo appeal.