No problem about the rating, I don't think the website explains it very well and as long as you give a positive rating later it overrides the bad one.
Your 30 days start from mailing although the rules allow you to get an extension by asking for it.
Your reply will not be your brief, although you can make the same arguments in it. On appeal the burden shifts to you to show that the court acted improperly,
The first thing you need to do is find the rules for appeals. In NC they can be found at these two sites:
They are the same, just formatted a little differently.
Read through those rules so that you are sure you know what has to be filed and when. You may be able to look around the internet and find a timeline for filing appellate
materials but even if you do, read the rules first so you are sure you understand them.
Next, you need to know how to do legal research because you are going to have to be able to find case law to support your ideas. There is a book that will be available in a few days at http://lessonsinlaw.com/the-guerrilla-guides-to-the-law/ called The Guerrilla Guide to Legal Research. I highly recommend you get that and read through it and learn the concepts behind legal research because you are going to have to understand it to succeed in your quest,
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I believe in giving information that is to the point, but please remember that I can only base our answers on the information you provide and sometimes a misunderstanding as to what you are looking for or already know occurs so feel free to ask additional questions or for clarifications. Be very careful about looking at other internet sites that just post generic information without any inquiry into your facts because often those answers are dated, wrong, or wrong as applied to your facts. Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information. You should always contact a local attorney for legal advice.
Several customers have asked how they direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to provide information for you just put “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line and I will pick up the next time I am online.