Explaining Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims

Explaining Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims

When a court orders a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC.), you get another chance to present your case. This opportunity can lead to a different verdict, potentially even an acquittal. The key to these types of claims is working with a competent defense attorney who can prove that your previous attorney’s performance fell below the appropriate standard and resulted in an unfair outcome.

What Is Ineffective Assistance of Counsel?

Ineffective assistance of counsel occurs when a defense attorney fails to provide competent legal representation and this adversely affects their client. This concept stems from the constitutional right to counsel, which ensures that every criminal defendant has access to qualified and effective representation.

A competent defense attorney should actively defend their client, offering knowledgeable legal advice and robust representation in court. When an attorney falls short of these standards, it can be considered ineffective assistance. This could include failing to investigate the case properly, not presenting key evidence, or not challenging the prosecution’s arguments effectively.

Grounds for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims

The grounds for ineffective assistance of counsel claims involve scenarios where a lawyer’s actions or inaction undermine their client’s case. One common ground is the failure to investigate. This occurs when an attorney does not thoroughly explore evidence or potential witnesses that could have strengthened the defendant’s case.

Another possible ground for an IAC claim is the failure to communicate. This includes not keeping the defendant informed about critical aspects of their case or not discussing potential plea offers. Lack of preparation is another common ground raised in an IAC claim. This happens when a lawyer does not adequately prepare for trial, leaving their client without a strategic defense plan.

Each of these scenarios can significantly affect the outcome of a trial, thereby constituting grounds for IAC claims.

A Lawyer’s Help in Meeting the Strickland Test

The Strickland test is the standard for evaluating IAC claims. It requires proof of two main factors: deficient performance and prejudice to the defendant. Deficient performance means that the lawyer’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. Prejudice to the defendant occurs when a lawyer’s poor performance adversely affects the outcome of a case, such as being found “guilty” when an acquittal may have otherwise resulted had the attorney provided effective counsel.

A skilled appellate lawyer can use evidence to fulfill the Strickland test in an IAC claim. To demonstrate deficient performance, they might gather records showing how your original attorney failed in their duties, such as by neglecting to cross-examine witnesses effectively. To establish prejudice, the lawyer must illustrate how these failures affected your trial’s outcome. This might include presenting new evidence that could have substantially affected the outcome of the case or highlighting how a more robust defense could have led to a different verdict.

Get the Legal Representation You Need

If you experienced an unjust outcome due to ineffective assistance of counsel, don’t hesitate to reach out to Broden & Mickelsen, LLP. We’re ready to listen to your story and offer guidance. We provide free consultations to help you understand your options. Contact us today to discuss your claim and see how we can assist you in seeking justice.


At Broden & Mickelsen, LLP, we are experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyers are dedicated to providing aggressive and ethical representation to individuals and businesses charged with crimes.