What is a petition for rehearing?
A petition for rehearing is a route your attorney may pursue when your case was appealed and the decision was ruled against your favor. It is crucial that you discuss this petition with your attorney as soon as the appeal decision is released, as it has strict requirements and time limits.
Understanding a Petition for Rehearing
While the appellate court is to pass down their decision after you file an appeal, a petition for rehearing can be used to dispute their decision. A petition for rehearing is mainly for resolving errors of the appellate court that occurred during the appeal trial. It is not used for attempting a new defense angle, or protest to have evidence reanalyzed, but instead to take a thoughtful and exhaustive legal review of the court’s decision to uncover useful flaws.
When is a Petition for Rehearing Appropriate?
Your appeals attorney will help you understand your options after discussing the decision of your appeal with you. If they propose a petition for rehearing, that means your case is in one of the five main categories for when a petition for rehearing is appropriate:
- The court’s decision revolved around an issue that was not covered in your attorney’s briefs
- The court’s opinion ignored or omitted a critical fact or issue brought up during the case
- A fact was misstated or misrepresented and impacts the court’s decision
- A legal error was made
- There are concerns over due process
The Deadline for a Petition for Rehearing
As mentioned, there is a very strict deadline for when a petition for rehearing is filed. In California, it must be within 15 days of the appellate court’s decision. Because of this, your attorney should explore and elaborate on your options directly after the original decision gets handed down.
What Happens Next
After your attorney had filed a petition for rehearing, the court may do one of two things. The court may deny the petition right away with a written order. This outcome is common, as the court rarely realizes a mistake they had made and reverses it. If your petition is denied, it is still possible they change the original opinion to reflect the information presented.
It is also possible that the court agrees that an error was made, and they might issue a new decision based on the new information. Additionally, they may request more briefs or oral arguments from your attorney to use for further clarification. After this new information is received, they will pass down their new decision.
If the court does not issue a response to the petition before the original decision becomes final, it means the petition is automatically denied.
Alternatively, your lawyer may say that filing a review is an option. This is often done if your case brings up a new issue. It is also useful if there were violations in the original choice or conduct of your case.