The U.S. Constitution states that persons accused of criminal acts are entitled to have legal representation. But if an attorney does not effectively defend a client in a Louisiana courtroom, a conviction and sentencing could result that the defendant did not deserve. If a person has suffered this fate due to ineffective counsel, it can serve as grounds for an appeal and an overturning of the sentence.

The Cornell Law School points out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a right to counsel is also the right to have effective assistance of counsel. An attorney who does not defend a client effectively could cause a judge or jury to hand down a different verdict than if the attorney had performed properly. Courts will look at this argument as well as arguments that an attorney had not performed up to an objective standard of reasonable conduct while determining if ineffective counsel had taken place.

Ineffective counsel can happen in a number of ways. As explained by FindLaw, it may happen if an attorney does not consult you before making decisions or if the attorney has severe deficiencies communicating with you. Some lawyers make repeated mistakes and omissions, like filing motions or notices later than required or even failing to do so. Ineffective attorneys may also mishandle court procedure and incorrectly use legal terms. All of these errors can cost a client and sway the outcome of a trial.

People who are not well served by legal counsel can lose a case they should have won and suffer a severe loss of freedom and money. Those who suspect ineffective counsel had crippled their defense and caused them to be unfairly sentenced have grounds to appeal and seek a reversal of their convictions. Appeals can be made within two years of a conviction in the state of Louisiana with the help of an experienced post-conviction appeal attorney.