If you are accused of a crime, you have the right to legal representation. Many people choose to hire an attorney. Some cannot afford a lawyer, and the court appoints public legal counsel. Whoever represents you, you have the right to a well-managed trial by a competent lawyer. Your counsel should do everything in his or her power to provide you with the best defense possible. 

If your attorney did not do his or her best to represent you, it could negatively affect the outcome of your trial. You have the legal prerogative to declare that you received ineffective assistance of counsel. 

The Cornell Law School explains that part of your legal right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment includes the right to competent assistance. To prove your counsel was ineffective, you must establish that your lawyer’s performance falls short of the “objective standard of reasonableness.” You must also reasonably show that the outcome of your trial would have been different had your attorney represented you appropriately. 

What happens next? 

If you successfully prove that your lawyer was incompetent, the court will throw out your trial and order a new one. Sometimes, the court will throw out the case altogether, but this is very rare. At this point, you have several options. You can hire a new, more competent lawyer. If you cannot afford one, the court will appoint you a public defender. You also have the right to represent yourself in your new trial.