The final sentencing order has been entered to close the George Huguely murder case, but that now sets the stage for an appeal to a higher court.

In February, the University of Virginia lacrosse player was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend and fellow UVA lacrosse player Yeardley Love. On Thursday, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward Hogshire sentenced Huguely to 23 years in prison. Click here for case background information.

It has been no secret that George Huguely plans on appealing his second-degree murder conviction and newly imposed 23-year sentence.   With the sentencing order in place, his defense team has 30 days to file a notice of appeal.

Defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana said, "Our system provides that a single person or a single group of people are not the final arbiters."

Huguely's attorneys asked Judge Hogshire for a retrial last month, which was later denied.

NBC29 legal analyst Lloyd Snook said, "In order to setup your appeal correctly, you need to make sure you have thoroughly given the judge all of the issues and all of the reasons why the trial ought to be redone."

Once the notice is filed, the circuit court clerk will have 30 days to get the case file to the court of appeals. A decision on if the appeal would be granted wouldn't happen until at least mid-February.

There are also several pending civil lawsuits from the Love family.  In  May, Yeardley's mother, Sharon Love, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia (refers to the University of Virginia - pursuant to Virginia Tort Claims Act) , UVA men's lacrosse coach Dom Starsia, assistant coach Marc Van Arsdale, and athletics director Craig Littlepage. She also filed a $30 million civil lawsuit against George Huguely.  A date to hear those lawsuits has not been set.