The Right To Counsel
Since 1992, the likelihood of an arrest leading to a conviction has generally risen. Although some defendants think that they can “beat the system” on their own, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to prevent becoming another statistic.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney In Texas
Defend yourself against serious criminal charges that could affect you for the rest of your life. Attorney Frank Jackson has over 50 years of criminal law experience as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer. He can defend people charged with drug crimes, sex offences, violent crimes, property crimes, white collar crimes and other serious criminal charges. Based in Dallas, he defends people throughout North Texas, including those in Fort Worth, Plano, Allen, Denton, Frisco and McKinney.
Contact the Law Offices of Frank Jackson for a free initial consultation about a state or federal criminal charge. No matter what criminal charge you may be facing, you have the right to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Explanation Of The Right To Counsel
The right to legal counsel is a fundamental right of criminal defendants under the U.S. Constitution. Many state constitutions also include this right, and some states provide broader rights to counsel than the federal Constitution does. However, state defendants are still entitled to lawyers in certain scenarios because of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, even if their state constitutions do not provide such rights.
If you are suspected of, are being investigated for or have been accused of a crime, then it is important that you retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight for you throughout the criminal justice process. Contact the Law Offices of Frank Jackson in Dallas today to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.
Two Fifth and Sixth Amendments guarantee criminal suspects the right to legal counsel. Both grant this right, but under different circumstances.
The Sixth Amendment’s Explicit Right To Counsel
The Sixth Amendment says that someone who is accused of a crime has the right to counsel to defend them in criminal prosecutions. Court decisions have established that the assistance of counsel must also be effective.
The Sixth Amendment guarantee applies to anyone facing federal criminal charges. The 14th Amendment and some state constitutions also afford this right to anyone facing state felony charges or misdemeanor charges when conviction could result in incarceration.
Broadly, the Sixth Amendment means that at the point when the government takes an officially adversarial position against someone in “judicial proceedings,” the defendant may not be questioned or face adversarial proceedings without their attorney present unless the defendant has legally waived that right.
Normally, once a crime has been charged, the defendant’s lawyer must be there for “critical confrontations” and “critical stages” of the process. This includes interrogation, lineup, a probable cause hearing, arraignment, a plea hearing, a felony trial, a misdemeanor trial (where jail time could be imposed), sentencing and appeal (if by right). The Sixth Amendment also gives juvenile defendants the right to a lawyer at delinquency hearings.
The right does not attach if the individual is merely suspected of committing a crime. It does not usually attach during the investigative stage prior to the filing of charges – even if the individual is the only suspect. An arrest, without formal charges, also does not trigger the Sixth Amendment right. This does not mean, however, that an individual being investigated for a crime cannot or should not have a lawyer; it just means that the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney isn’t applicable in those situations.
Once the right to counsel has attached, the state cannot interfere with the defendant’s right to seek counsel and must honor the right.
The Fifth Amendment’s Implied Right To Counsel
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona found an implied right to counsel in the Fifth Amendment to protect defendants’ right to not incriminate themselves during custodial interrogation. In other words, you have a right to an attorney when you are in police custody facing questioning, regardless of whether an actual crime has been charged. The police must inform you of this right, and if you assert it, questioning must stop until your lawyer is present.
Those who are indigent and cannot afford attorneys have the right to have lawyers appointed for their defenses at no cost. Defendants receiving free attorneys do not have the right to lawyers of their choosing. Rather, the court will assign a public defender or appoint private defense counsel. Normally, the right to appointed counsel only extends to the trial and the first appeal.
Waiver Of Right To Counsel
Just as a criminal defendant has the right to an attorney, they also have the right to self-representation. To exercise this right, a defendant must be able to prove to the judge that they are competent (meaning that the person has the requisite mental capacity) to waive the right to counsel knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily.
Defendants should carefully consider the consequences of representing themselves. Given the complexities of criminal procedure and the severe consequences that convictions carry, criminal defense attorneys are best suited to protect defendants’ legal rights and help them achieve positive outcomes.
Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is important to begin working with an attorney as soon as possible in the criminal process, even if you have not been formally charged with a crime. To schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney and learn more about your legal rights, contact the Law Offices of Frank Jackson in Dallas today by calling 214-663-2811 or 214-663-2811 (toll-free).
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.