When you’re facing criminal charges, effective counsel is the only thing standing between you and serious fines and long prison sentences. We trust that when we pay hefty attorney’s fees for representation that we are hiring someone who is competent to defend criminal cases in Austin. However, you may suspect that your lawyer is incompetent. Here are a few signs that you should consider taking your case elsewhere.

5 Signs Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Incompetent

1. Your Attorney Dodges or Never Returns Your Calls

Although most criminal attorneys have large caseloads, failing to communicate with you when you have questions or input about your case is unacceptable. Although your attorney may have sound legal reasons for urging you to take a particular course of action, competent, ethical lawyers will always take your wishes into consideration when making plans for court. Dodging your calls may be a sign that your lawyer has knowingly made a mistake or committed malpractice and is not informing you.

2. Your Attorney’s Dress or Conduct is Unprofessional

Wearing inappropriate clothing or consistently arriving late to appointments or court appearances is a major red flag that your attorney is not taking your case seriously and may even be incompetent.  The legal profession is an especially conservative one, so you should expect to see your lawyer meeting you in very traditional attire like a dark suit with professional accessories like a tie for a man or simple jewelry for a woman.  Timeliness is also hugely important in the legal field, so your lawyer should be arriving at least a few minutes early for all professional appointments.  If you notice inappropriate dress or behavior happening repeatedly, it’s probably time to find new representation.

3. Your Attorney Does Not Consult You Before Making Major Decisions

It is not uncommon for clients to disagree with their attorneys about how to handle their cases. However, reputable attorneys won’t do anything or make any key decisions about your case without clearing it with you first. Make sure that you feel completely in control of your case.  Your lawyer should never be doing anything behind your back.  You should find another attorney immediately if your lawyer is making decisions without your consent.

4. Your Attorney Misses Court Deadlines

Missing important deadlines to file paperwork such as a notice of appeal is a serious oversight on the part of your lawyer that could cost you thousands of dollars in fines or even your freedom. Judges issue citations to criminal defense attorneys for filing such notices late, and if the judge presiding over your case does so, you should reconsider your choice of representation.  It’s also a good idea to look through an attorney’s public citation record before you even hire them to make sure the lawyer doesn’t have a history of these problems.

5. Your Lawyer Makes Serious Blunders in Court

Though it is uncommon, prosecutors and judges sometimes have occasion to correct a defense attorney about legal terminology, procedure or other element of the process. While it is possible your attorney simply misspoke, if this happens after a series of other problems in your case, it’s probably time to find other representation.  Your attorney’s demeanor in court can also hugely impact your case.  If she or he doesn’t seem confident or sure during court proceedings to you, the likelihood is that the judge and/or jury is also sensing that and making decisions influenced by it.

Everyone makes mistakes, but if your attorney has exhibited any of the behaviors listed here, your court case may be endangered. He or she may have even committed malpractice while handling your case. You don’t need to feel stuck with your lawyer.  If you discover you made a mistake in selecting your representation, you’re better off finding a new lawyer like those at www.harronlaw.com rather than waiting for a retrial. Finding better representation from a qualified attorney may result in a more favorable outcome to your criminal case.