One of your most basic rights as someone facing a criminal charge in the United States is the right to defend yourself in a fair court of law. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution enshrines the right to a trial by jury and the rights to guidance or representation concerning legal matters that could result in incarceration. A defendant has the right to a lawyer and the right to represent themselves, if they so choose.
Unfortunately, especially for those with limited financial resources, the representation provided by attorneys is not the same. Particularly when it comes to public defenders or those struggling to make a law career work, clients facing serious criminal charges may not get the representation or advice that they need.
While such a failure can mean a lot of unnecessary stress and difficulty in your life, it could also mean that you have the opportunity to appeal a criminal conviction.
Ineffective assistance of counsel is a common reason for post-conviction appeals
A defendant convicted of a crime doesn’t have the opportunity to appeal just because they feel the conviction was wrong. There needs to be some sort of legal grounds for an appeal, whether the state introduced evidence that should have been excluded from the proceedings due to the illegal way in which police gathered it or the judge allowed prejudicial statements that impacted the neutrality of the jury.
Ineffective assistance of counsel or legal malpractice can also be grounds for an appeal. You simply have to show that the actions your attorney took or their failure to take certain actions directly resulted in your conviction. If most other attorneys would have handled things better or differently, you may have grounds to appeal your conviction.
You need experienced help with an appeal
If bad criminal defense help has taught you anything, it’s the true value of skilled defense assistance. An attorney with experience and knowledge in the area where you need help can be invaluable when trying to defend your freedom and your reputation.
If you have already experienced one difficult court case without adequate help, you don’t want to have to experience the same hardship in the future. Getting help with your appeal from the earliest stages will improve your chances of the ruling that you want.