I don't practice law in California, however, my experience with federal cases tells me that most appeals must be filed within one year of "a final judgment on the merits." This usually means 1 year from when the sentence was imposed. However, if this time limit has passed but there has been a significant change in the law, or there is newly discovered evidence that might prove the defendant's innocence, he/she will likely have avenues to pursue an appeal or a petition for habeus corpus. Defense attorneys will usually offer a free consultation with concerned family members and give legal advice relating to the specifics of the case. It might be a good idea to talk to another attorney and see what he/she suggests. Good luck!
This grossly incorrect answer shows why attorneys should post only where they are licensed. If you are in a CA prison for a violation of CA law, you have 60 days from the date of sentencing to appeal. No extensions. If you miss this deadline you will have to go the habeas route which is a long and complicated process.
You have sixty days from conviction to file a notice of appeal. If your are appealing a verdict after trial, you really should file your notice of appeal as soon as possible after your trial. If you are appealing a guilty plea, you may also need to request a certificate of probable cause from the court. There are California Judicial Council Forms on the internet that can get you started with your notice of appeal. The attorney that represented you in the trial court can also help you file the proper notice. California will provide an attorney free of charge to represent you on appeal if you cannot afford one. For more specifics on deadlines for appeal see California Rules of Court rule 8.104.
You need to file a "notice of appeal" within 60 days of sentencing. Once that is done, if you don't already have an appellate attorney one will be appointed for you.
Normally there's not a conflict of interest for the trial attorney to simply file the notice of appeal; although, the appeal itself should be handled by different attorney. The notice of appeal is a simple form and not that difficult to fill out. If the trial attorney refuses to file the notice, you should consider hiring another attorney to do so before the time limit expires.