Adequate Legal Representation Laws
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What Does ?Adequate Legal Representation? Mean?
In a criminal trial, the defendant has a constitutional right to “Adequate Legal Representation”. This means that their defense attorney will make a good faith effort to make a defense case in a zealous and enthusiastic manner.
It does not, however guarantee that the lawyer will do a perfect job, or even that they will win the case. It simply means that the lawyer’s representation will be enough to provide the defendant with a fair trial. Thus, the criminal defendant not only has the right to an attorney, but also the right to receive adequate legal representation from that attorney.
Failure to provide adequate legal representation is sometimes known as “ineffective assistance of counsel”.
What if the Legal Representation in a Case Was Not Adequate?
“Inadequate legal representation” can have major consequences for a criminal proceeding. Basically, if the legal representation is not adequate, it may actually justify the court throwing out a verdict of guilty. This may require the case to be entirely re-tried.
However, courts strongly presume that a lawyer’s representation is adequate. In order to overcome this presumption, the defendant must show the following regarding their attorney:
- The attorney’s performance was greatly deficient. The defendant must be able to point to an error or errors that are so major as to influence the outcome of the case
- The defendant should also prove that the attorney’s inadequate representation resulted in “unfair prejudice” to the defense. An example of this is where the attorney disregards specific instructions from the judge, causing the jury to become biased against the lawyer
These rules may also apply to the appeal stages of a trial. That is, inadequate legal representation can also occur during an appeal or second appeal. Anytime inadequate legal representation occurs, the defendant may have to hire another lawyer who will assist with any outstanding legal issues. In severe cases, the defendant may bring civil charges against the first lawyer.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Adequate Legal Representation Laws?
Adequate legal representation is a fundamental part of any criminal case. If you have any legal issues or disputes that involve inadequate legal representation, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on how to proceed, and what your legal options are regarding the criminal charges.
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Last Modified: 06-23-2014 10:11 AM PDT
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