Your Appeal Is Your Last Best Chance To Right A Wrong

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3 times a lawyer’s mistake can lead to a criminal appeal

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2022 | New Mexico State Criminal Appeals

When you face criminal charges, your defense attorney protects you against the allegations that could irrevocably alter the course of your life. They help you decide on the best strategy and present an effective case in criminal court.

You have to trust in their understanding of the law and of the criminal trial process if you hope to achieve success when fighting against pending criminal charges. Unfortunately, sometimes criminal defendants learn too late that they misplaced their trust. The attorney who represented them made mistakes that contributed to their conviction in court.

What kinds of issues involving your lawyer might lead to grounds for a criminal appeal?

  1. When they displayed major gaps in their legal knowledge

To successfully defend someone accused of a crime, an attorney has to understand the criminal statute allegedly violated and also precedent set in the prosecution of defendants in similar cases. Sometimes, lawyers will agree to represent someone in an area of criminal law in which they have no practical experience.

They may demonstrate this gap in their knowledge in court by failing to understand the law or key precedent that applies to your case. If a lawyer provides you with inadequate counsel because they do not understand the law, you may have grounds for an appeal based on their failings.

  1. When they don’t show up for court

Few things make you look worse than wasting a judge’s time. When your lawyer misreads their schedule or accidentally double books themselves, they may fail to show up for crucial hearings. If they were meant to attend in your stead, you could face consequences for failing to appear. Even if you are present when they are not, the delay they cause with their unprofessional conduct could impact your case.

  1. When they give you obviously incorrect advice

You trusted everything that your lawyer said and followed all of their recommendations. However, after your conviction, you consulted with another lawyer. They expressed shock regarding the actions your lawyer suggested, ranging from how they asked you to present yourself in court to whether or not you testified on your own behalf.

When your lawyer’s performance and decisions fall outside what other reasonable professionals would do, their actions may constitute legal malpractice and could give you grounds for an appeal. Provided that you can show that a failing on the part of your lawyer resulted in you having inadequate counsel and you can connect that directly to the unfavorable outcome in criminal court, you may have grounds for an appeal because of your lawyer’s conduct.