You Are In The Fight of Your Life. Is Your Defense Lawyer?
So much is on the line when fighting criminal charges, but do you have the feeling that your criminal defense attorney is not fighting for you? Knowing that your career, your reputation, your freedom, and your future all hang in the balance, is your defense attorney doing all he or she can to protect you? Are you second-guessing your choice of lawyer and wondering if you can or should hire a new one?
How Can You Tell If Your Criminal Defense Attorney Is Not Fighting Hard Enough?
With determined prosecutors on a mission to convict you, you need a champion on your side who is equally committed and up to the challenge. Sometimes, however, it may seem like your criminal defense attorney isn’t putting in the time or effort fighting for you that your case needs and that you deserve. Maybe it looks like prosecutors always get the best of your attorney, outmaneuvering and out-lawyering them when it matters most. Or, perhaps your case is taking far longer or costing you a lot more money than you expected.
Even worse, you may have a sense that your criminal defense lawyer isn’t being honest or straight with you or is acting unethically or improperly.
Since you may not be familiar with the Colorado Springs criminal justice system, it can be difficult to tell whether your defense attorney is doing what they need to do to win your case or get a positive outcome. When you start questioning your criminal attorney’s judgment, strategy, or work ethic, you first need to ask yourself why you’re so concerned. Figuring out why you think your criminal defense lawyer is not fighting for you hard enough is the first step in figuring out what to do next.
Is the Problem With Your Criminal Defense Lawyer or the Criminal Justice System?
You may have legitimate reasons to be concerned about your criminal defense attorney. But sometimes, the issue is more about the qualities of the criminal justice system rather than the quality of your lawyer.
For example, you may know that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives criminal defendants the right to a “speedy trial.” But “speedy” is a relative term, and it isn’t unusual for Colorado Springs criminal cases to drag on for months, or even years. Your criminal defense attorney might be doing everything in their power to bring your case to a conclusion, but overworked judges, overcrowded El Paso County courts and attorney schedules, discovery and investigative work, and other procedural issues beyond your attorney’s control may be slowing things down.
You may be angry about facing criminal charges, especially if you know you did nothing wrong. You might expect that your defense lawyer should be equally outraged. If you see him or her exchanging pleasantries with prosecutors, smiling and acting friendly, that may make you even more upset.
But Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers deal with the same prosecutors, the same judges, and the same courthouse staff every single day. Not only do judges and the rules of professional conduct require lawyers to act civilly and professionally, but maintaining good relationships with prosecutors can help your defense attorney secure better-negotiated outcomes when doing so is in your best interest.
What if you don’t want to negotiate a plea and your lawyer does? Yes, you hired your criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges against you, but you also hired them for their judgment, advice, and insights. Your defense attorney may recommend a plea bargain because they genuinely believe that it is the best option based on the law and facts of your case.
But if you feel pressured to enter into a deal, if it seems like your lawyer wants you to plead guilty just to be done with your case and move on, that could be a sign that the relationship no longer works. Similarly, if you strongly disagree with your criminal attorney’s strategy, even if developed in good faith, you are well within your rights to find a lawyer who will take an approach more aligned with your wishes.
Of course, some issues go beyond differences of opinion. If your criminal defense lawyer doesn’t appear to be forcefully fighting for you when it is time to do so or fails to keep you informed or respond to you in a reasonable time, you should consider switching lawyers.
If your Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney engages in conduct you think is improper or unethical, then you may need to take steps beyond firing them.
What to Do If Your Defense Attorney Is Not Fighting For You
The first step you should take if you have concerns about your defense lawyer is to discuss these issues directly with them. Sometimes, simple miscommunication is the problem. Ask questions about how your case is going and what your attorney is doing or not doing. If you can’t resolve disagreements, if you no longer have faith in your lawyer, you should get a new one.
But changing defense attorneys in the middle of your criminal case comes with potential downsides to consider. Your new defense lawyer will need to familiarize themselves with your case, which means they may be repeating a lot of work that your previous lawyer did. This will cost you more in attorneys’ fees and may delay your case even longer.
If you think that maybe you can defend yourself and not hire a defense attorney at all, think again. The same goes if you try to save a few bucks by hiring the cheapest defense attorney you can find. You get what you pay for.
Even defendants who have the best criminal defense attorneys in Colorado Springs on their side can receive a guilty verdict from a judge or jury. That doesn’t mean the lawyer was negligent, incompetent, or committed legal malpractice.
But if your defense attorney engaged in conduct that falls short of their legal and ethical obligations, such as not showing up to court or lying to you, you can report their behavior to the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel. That office evaluates complaints and investigates and prosecutes allegations of violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct by Colorado attorneys.
Start the complaint process by calling an intake coordinator at the office who will then advise you what to do next.
If Your Criminal Defense Attorney Is Not Fighting For You, Find One Who Will
If you are facing a serious criminal charge in Colorado Springs the last thing you want is criminal defense attorney that is not fighting for you. The team of lawyers at James Newby aw are creative Colorado Springs criminal defense attorneys with proven defense results.
Contact James Newby Law to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney. Appointments are available 24/7 if needed.