The criminal justice system does not always get things right. While losing at the trial stage is devastating, the ability to file an appeal provides a potential path forward. According to data provided by the United States Courts, more than 50,000 criminal appeals are filed each year. This raises an important question: Should you hire a new lawyer for your criminal appeal?
The answer depends on your circumstances. In this article, our California appellate criminal defense lawyer discusses the advantages and disadvantages of hiring another lawyer for a criminal appeal.
Three Advantages of Hiring a New Attorney for Your Criminal Appeal
In many cases, it makes sense to hire a separate lawyer for a criminal appeal. Here are three key advantages of hiring a new attorney for a criminal appeal in California.
Benefit 1: Appeals are Different—an Expert Can Help.
An appeal is not simply a chance to “re-try” your case. There are highly specialized rules and procedures in the appeals process. You need a lawyer who understands the technicalities. Many criminal defense lawyers have little or no experience with appeals. You can benefit from hiring an attorney who focuses on appeals.
Benefit 2: A Fresh Perspective on Your Case Benefits You.
Another benefit of hiring a new lawyer for a criminal appeal is that you will have fresh eyes on your cases. Criminal cases are complicated. In some circumstances, a fresh perspective can help to find something important that would otherwise be missed.
Benefit 3: You Can File an Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claim.
Criminal appeals can only be filed on narrow, specific grounds. One potential justification for a criminal appeal is ineffective assistance of counsel claim. As defined by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, ineffective assistance of counsel claim argues that your original lawyer’s performance was so poor that your civil rights were violated. You can only bring this type of appeal if you hire a new lawyer.
Two Potential Disadvantages of Hiring a New Lawyer for Your Criminal Appeal
To be clear, you are not required to hire a new attorney for criminal appeals in California. Here are two potential disadvantages to retaining another lawyer for help with your appeal.
Disadvantage 1: Your Current Attorney is Already Familiar With Your Case.
One disadvantage of hiring a new lawyer for a criminal appeal is that your current attorney is already knowledgeable about your case. If the facts are highly complex and the appeal is relatively straightforward, you may benefit from retaining the same lawyer.
Disadvantage 2: You May Have a Strong Relationship With Your Lawyer.
Do you have a strong working relationship with your current criminal defense attorney? If so, you may prefer that they represent you on appeal—even though the trial did not work out as planned. Still, you should only give the same lawyer if they are qualified to handle appeals.
Contact a Smart California Criminal Appeals Lawyer Today
At The Appellate Law Firm, our California criminal appellate lawyers are strong, dedicated advocates for justice. If you are preparing to hire an attorney for your appeal, we are here to help. For a strictly private consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We have an office in Los Angeles and represent clients in criminal appeals throughout California.