What are my rights if I hired an attorney who misrepresented himself?

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What are my rights if I hired an attorney who misrepresented himself?

He said he was a criminal attorney but is actually a bankruptcy lawyer and if it wasn’t for his unethical behavior and ignorance my husband would be on his way home right now instead of waiting to be sent to prison. I want the court to postpone sending him to prison until this is resolved.

Asked on December 16, 2014 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

1) You *may* be able to appeal the conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel, and in the appeal you can try to get the prison term stayed, or temporarily halted, until the appeal is heard--though be aware this is not at all certain, and there is a reasonable chance your husband will be in prison while the appeal is being heard. Speak with a *real* experienced criminal defense attorney--preferably one with experience in appeals--about this immediately.

2) You may also have a malpractice lawsuit against the attorney for misrepresenting his expertise, taking on a case he was unqualified for, and for ineffective assistance. It's not as pressing an issue as dealing with the appeal, but is something you consider and discuss with an attorney after you get the appeal underway.

Good luck.


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