I can't answer as to the Social Security representation but as to the DUI, it sounds like your lawyer did a good job. He got your DUI dismissed. As to the remaining charges, you would have been advised by the Judge that you have a right to a trial by jury and the right to cross examine any witnesses that the State brought against you. I assume you were advised by your attorney that the state could prove DUI by the way you were driving, possible smell of alcohol, how you appeared in the DUI video if any, and many other things including the arresting officer's observations about you. Based on that information you could have been convicted of DUI but instead chose to plead guilty to the lesser charges of reckless driving. Your choice to plead guilty and not go to trial. So if this is correct then it sounds like there isn't much to complain about your lawyer's representation. Regardless, if you wish to file a complaint, you can do so with the Board of Professional Responsibility. If you wish to sue him for malpractice, you must do so within one year of your date of arrest. If you wait beyond that time, your claim may be barred by the TN statute of limitations.
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. I provide this service for educational purposes only. I will take no action on your behalf unless you have hired me and a written retainer agreement is signed. I am licensed only in Tennessee and I strongly suggest you consult with an attorney in your city and state as Statute of Limitation deadlines can limit your recovery.
If you feel your lawyer was negligent in his representation, you may contact the Tennessee bar association. You should make sure that your information is correct since the bar will contact the attorney and get his side of the story too.
As to the waiver for the SS claim: If the case was denied and no appeal is being processed then the lawyer connection to your case has ceased. He has no claim to a new filing. That becomes an entirely new action and he is owed nothing on the case. If he continues to block your attempts to file a new case with a new attorney, you may contact the bar and also the SS administration. In order to perform SS advocacy an attorney must be authorized by SS to do so. Complaints against attorneys to SS are taken very seriously.
As far as contemplating a malpractice action, it will probably not be worth your time. Malpractice requires that the attorney acted negligently and but for his actions the outcome would have been different. With SS that would be almost impossible to prove and the plea bargain is always a crapshoot. No one can predict how such a case would turn out.
Your lawyer is right. The presence of Tramadol could have been enough to convict you of DUI. DUI includes substances other than alcohol.
As for your lawyer not withdrawing from your SS case, it's probably because he put work into the case for which he wanted to be paid. Your old lawyer and your new lawyer will need to submit Fee Petitions to the judge that decided your case. Assuming you won, the judge will decide who is entitled to how much. You are given notice of the decision and are allowed to appeal if you disagree.
It doesn't sound like your lawyer did anything improper or unethical, in my opinion.
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You cannot expect a lawyer here to second guess your lawyers advice just because you think it was not sound based on your extremely limited knowledge and experience with such complex legal issues. You should have a lawyer look into the matter for a fee if you really doubt the advice of your lawyer. That will take several hours of investigation and probably a fee of $900 or more if you want a proper answer. No other lawyer can tell you what you should have done without looking at the paperwork, your record, the blood test results, the police report, and other documents. The odds are that your lawyer was right and you could have been convicted of a DUI and it was best to take the plea. You are not allowed to take any medication, legal or illegal, prescription or not which will impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
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