Anyone accused of a criminal offense in theory has the right to legal representation. However, not every lawyer will provide the same caliber of legal support. Often, criminal defendants have an uphill battle in the court system, especially if their attorney juggles numerous cases simultaneously.
Overworked and stressed defense attorneys may fail to provide the representation that a criminal defendant requires for a successful defense. Could you potentially have grounds for an appeal of your conviction because your lawyer couldn’t focus on your case?
Overworked lawyers may not do right by their clients
To provide a client with proper guidance and advocacy in a courtroom, a defense attorney needs to be familiar with all of the details of their case and the evidence against them. The lawyer will also typically need to review both legal code and court precedents that may apply.
A public defender with dozens of cases currently in the works may not have the mental bandwidth to give each client the attention they deserve. They may press clients into pleading guilty when there are multiple options for defense. They may fail to pay adequate attention in court due to fatigue and not speak up when they should.
If your lawyer missed hearings due to scheduling conflicts, seemed unfamiliar with applicable court precedent or otherwise struggled to provide you with a professional level of support during your trial, you could potentially have grounds for an appeal based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Could a different attorney have affected the outcome of your case?
If you consult with a defense or appeal lawyer and they agree that an attorney appropriately focused on your case could have secured a different outcome or that your lawyer failed in some obvious way to act in your best interests, you could potentially appeal your conviction.
Conflicts of interest, new evidence and major mistakes made by lawyers are among the viable reasons that someone convicted of a criminal offense could appeal the outcome of their original trial. Learning more about professional standards and the law could help you determine if your lawyer made mistakes while representing you that might give you grounds for an appeal.