Anyone accused of a criminal offense has the right to an attorney, but not all legal representation will have a positive impact on a criminal defendant. Occasionally, lawyers do such a bad job advocating for their clients that their failures become the basis for that client’s later criminal appeal.
When might a lawyer’s actions lead to a criminal appeal by their client?
When they give bad advice or don’t know the law
A criminal defendant depends on their lawyer to explain the law that applies in their case and any applicable court precedent. When a lawyer doesn’t understand the law or the relevant case history, they may give their clients bad advice or attempt to build a defense that won’t hold up in court.
If you have communications with your lawyer showing that they misunderstood the law and gave you bad advice, their inadequate assistance could provide the foundation for an appeal.
When they hid a conflict of interest
An attorney who has a personal or professional relationship with the alleged victim of the crime or a connection to the case or a witness might let their personal matters affect the representation that they provide.
If you can clearly show that there was a conflict of interest and you believe it impacted your attorney’s performance, that could be a reason for an appeal.
When they fail to advocate properly in the courtroom
Your lawyer needs to speak up on your behalf, both by helping to present your case appropriately and by challenging the prosecutor and their witnesses that could affect the fairness of your trial. If your lawyer did not take action at a time when a reasonable professional would have, their failure to act on your behalf could give you grounds to appeal.
Recognizing when an adequate representation can lead to a criminal appeal can help you fight back after an unfair conviction.