Some attorneys are better than others. Like in almost all professions, the degree of efficacy among attorneys varies. However, all people charged with a criminal offense are entitled to free and adequate legal representation by a licensed attorney. Note that adequate representation does not mean the best possible representation. If you feel that your legal counsel was inadequate, there are a few different avenues you can take.
1. Determine if your legal representation was inadequate
Often, state appointed attorneys are swamped with an insane number of cases. Due to the size of a typical district attorney’s caseload, it is unrealistic to expect that all of your calls and questions will be answered within a few hours. All attorneys must abide by a code of ethics. Some of the major concerns in attorney ethics include the following:
¼ All attorneys must represent clients to the best of their abilities.
¼ All attorneys must maintain strict attorney-client privilege. In other words, you can admit to your attorney that you committed a crime, and your attorney must keep that information confidential until the time of your death.
¼ All attorneys must conduct themselves in a strictly professional manner when working with clients or presenting themselves before a judge or court.
Often, the judge will declare a mistrial immediately after he or she notices that your legal counsel has come to court in a state of disarray or intoxication. However, you can sometimes successfully file an appeal on the basis of a mistrial if you have proof that your attorney failed to uphold attorney-client privilege or chose not to adequately represent you for personal reasons.
2. Filing an appeal on the basis of a mistrial
There are many different factors that can result in the declaration of a mistrial. Proof of inadequate legal representation may result in the declaration of a mistrial, which basically grants you a new trial. Always proceed with caution, even if you think that the ultimate verdict was unjust. Any appeals process is typically lengthy and expensive. Unless your legal representation did something slightly outrageous such as missing a few court hearings, showing up to a legal proceeding while intoxicated, or demonstrating bizarre behavior, declaring your attorney incompetent can be a slippery slope.
3. File a complaint with your state BAR association
If you feel that you were treated unjustly and represented inadequately, file a complaint with your state BAR association, which is the licensure body for attorneys. Even if you were not able to successfully request a mistrial or prove that your attorney provided inadequate representation, you can notify the appropriate licensure body. Although a single complaint without much evidence might do little alone, numerous complaints of a similar nature can form a body of evidence which the BAR association is apt to take more seriously. Even if you will never work with that attorney again, you might ensure that he or she does not provide inadequate representation to other clients in the future.
In summary, never fabricate allegations because you did not agree with the ruling of your case. Only pursue allegations against an attorney that you honestly feel did not represent you to the best of his or her abilities.