How to Report a Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer for Misconduct

How to Report a Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer for Misconduct

If you believe a Dallas criminal defense lawyer has engaged in professional misconduct, you have the right to file a grievance against them. Here is some key information on how the grievance process works and how to file a complaint:

What is Attorney Misconduct?

Attorneys in Texas must follow ethical rules laid out in the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Violating these rules is considered professional misconduct. Some examples of misconduct include:

  • Neglecting client matters
  • Failing to communicate with clients
  • Misusing client funds
  • Making false statements
  • Improperly withdrawing from a case
  • Practicing law while suspended

Misconduct does not include things like dissatisfaction with case results or fee disputes. Those issues must be handled separately.

Why File a Grievance?

Filing a grievance helps protect the public by holding attorneys accountable for misconduct. It also helps maintain the integrity of the legal profession. When serious misconduct occurs, attorneys may face discipline ranging from reprimands to disbarment.

Who Can File a Grievance?

Any person can file a grievance against a Texas attorney. You do not need to be a client. However, clients typically have the most direct evidence of misconduct.

How to File a Grievance Against a Dallas Attorney

The first step is completing a grievance form from the State Bar of Texas Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel (CDC). You can submit it online at or mail it to:

State Bar of Texas
Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office
P.O. Box 13287
Austin, Texas 78711

Be sure to include copies of any relevant documents. You can attach additional pages if needed.

It’s important to know that by signing the form, you waive attorney-client privilege. This allows the CDC to fully investigate your complaint.

What Happens After Filing a Grievance?

The CDC will review your grievance within 30 days. They will determine if the alleged conduct, if true, violates ethics rules. If so, they will send a copy of the grievance to the attorney for a written response.

If the conduct does not appear to be professional misconduct, your case may get dismissed. You can appeal a dismissal or provide more information.

The Investigation Process

If the grievance moves forward, the CDC will investigate to determine if there is “just cause” to believe misconduct occurred. This may involve interviews, document review, court records research, and more.

If just cause exists, the case will go to a grievance committee hearing. You will likely have to testify about what happened. The attorney can also present testimony and evidence.

Potential Discipline

If misconduct is found, the attorney may face discipline such as:

  • Private or public reprimand
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Disbarment

Serious cases involving things like misusing client funds often result in tougher sanctions.

Other Options for Legal Disputes

The grievance process focuses on misconduct only. It cannot get you money damages or force an attorney to take action. If you have other issues, such as a fee dispute, talk to the Client-Attorney Assistance Program. They provide dispute resolution services.

You may also have a legal malpractice claim. Talk to a private attorney about your case specifics.

Questions About the Grievance Process

If you need help understanding the process before filing, call the State Bar of Texas toll-free at (800) 932-1900. They can answer common questions and point you in the right direction.

Filing a Complaint Against a Prosecutor

Prosecutors have special ethical duties under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. If you believe a Dallas County prosecutor engaged in misconduct, you can file a complaint with their office directly.

Use the form available at The Professional Responsibility Review Committee will investigate and recommend discipline if warranted.