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JD, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  Over 11 years of practice in litigation including 10 years as a state prosecutor
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Its a long story, but about 5 years ago i was arrested and

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Its a long story, but about 5 years ago i was arrested and ended up pleading guilty to a sexual offense. The thing is, my "victim" (my girlfriend at the time) actually dropped the charges, but the DA went ahead with things and I was never told that the charges were dropped, and pled guilty to save my GF (pregnant at the time) from having to go through a trial. Also, my assigned lawyer at the time wouldn't meet with me about anything for my case without bringing (female) law students with him, which made me very uncomfortable and meant i didn't talk to him much. I've been told that these things could mean that my lawyer didn't do his job right and I could get the guilty plea overturned. Is this true? And what should I do to get this looked at?
What state are you in?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am in Illinois. Thanks for checking!

Every defendant in a criminal proceeding is constitutionally entitled to assistance of counsel. If a defendant receives ineffective assistance of counsel, they may be awarded relief during an appeal or petition for post conviction relief. In the United States Supreme Court case, Strickland v. Washington, the standard was articulated for ineffective assistance of counsel. Essentially the defendant must show that the attorney's performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and that the defendant was prejudiced by the result.


The problem I initially see with this case is that the statute of limitations has probably expired for this claim. Generally you have one year from the conviction date to file a petition for post conviction relief. There are things that could potentially toll the statute and you should seek an opinion from a licensed Illinois criminal attorney to determine if you still have time to file.


The other issue that you must overcome is the significant burden on a defendant to demonstrate their lawyer's performance fell below the objective standard of reasonableness. I can tell you from experience that this standard is pretty low... it takes a significant deficiency to render a lawyer's representation as constitutionally ineffective under Strickland.


Basically you need to consult a local attorney (in Illinois) to evaluate your possibilities. I think you will find your statute of limitations has expired, but it is definitely worth checking. Make sure to take a copy of all your paperwork to your lawyer appointment.


Please reply if I can help further.



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