Proving Ineffective Assistance of Counsel in Utah

All Utah defendants are guaranteed the right to effective assistance of counsel under the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.

It is possible to appeal a Utah conviction if a defendant can show that their attorney provided ineffective assistance during a trial or plea negotiation.

When filing an appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show that his or her attorney performed deficiently and that this deficient performance prejudiced his or her defense.

Even the most flagrant incompetence cannot form the basis of an appeal when there is overwhelming evidence of a defendant’s guilt.

In cases where the facts are more nuanced, a defendant must show that his or her counsel’s performance fell “below an objective standard of reasonable professional judgment.”

What constitutes “reasonable professional judgment” is wide, and courts give attorneys a wide latitude in making tactical decisions in a trial situation, including what objections to make, what defense theories to bring, and what witnesses to call.

The Salt Lake City criminal defense team at Greg Smith & Associates handles criminal appeals throughout Utah. If you or a loved one is under investigation or has been charged with a crime, call us at 801-651-1512 or contact us online.

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