You’ve been convicted of a crime in Oregon and you know you will be going to prison, paying heavy fines and facing other serious consequences. Of course, everyone in this situation is unhappy about it, but the problem is even more difficult if you know you would have gotten a better outcome if your attorney didn’t make some serious mistakes.
You have rights. Among these rights is the right to counsel, and your defense lawyer carries a professional obligation to protect your interests throughout your case. Certain mistakes could be considered ineffective assistance of counsel and could be grounds for an appeal.
Do not give up just yet
The courts are consistently expanding the scope of ineffective counsel, making it easier for those convicted to bring successful appeals of their convictions.
Depending on your circumstances, there could be a chance that your lawyer’s failure to represent you could open the door for an appeal.
What constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel?
Some examples can include:
- Poor investigating: If your lawyer did not investigate the facts of your case, investigate the witnesses’ stories, investigate alibis, etc., this is negligence and could have changed the result of your trial.
- Conflict of interests: If your attorney had a significant conflict of interests that hindered his or her ability or willingness to properly advocate on your behalf, this is a violation of the legal rules of ethics.
- Unattendance: Did your attorney fail to show up at any of your hearings, miss important meetings with you or fail to attend other important events in your trial?
- General incompetence: In most cases, we can get a sense for professionals who don’t know what they’re doing. If you think your attorney was ignorant of the law or didn’t understand procedures, etc., you might have a case.
These are just a few important examples of ineffective assistance of counsel. There are many others, as well. If you think your lawyer was incompetent or failed to represent you properly, you might have a case.
What should you do?
For most people who are not trained attorneys, it is hard to tell for sure whether there is a viable case. The most important thing to do is call an experienced attorney today, a lawyer who focuses on post-conviction relief. A good attorney will be able to assess your case and help you determine your next steps.