Close X

Blog

Your Right to Counsel in Fresno

Posted by Terry A. Wapner | Mar 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

I am sure that you have the heard the following phrase on television and in movies: “You have the right to an attorney . . . ,” but what does that really mean? Do you get an attorney for every situation - no matter what the crime or how severe the penalty may be?The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for a criminal defendant the right to have an attorney.

The Sixth Amendment calls for “assistance of counsel” for the accused “in all criminal prosecutions.” According to this statement, an individual who is a defendant in a criminal case, has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney during the course of the trial.

In addition to the right to have an attorney represent you at trial, if the criminal defendant cannot afford his own attorney, the government shall appoint one who will take the case. This will be at no cost to the defendant. Keep in mind that court appointed attorneys are often over-worked and are forced to juggle a heavy case load. While these attorneys are generally capable of handling these cases, they are just simply unable to give their full attention to each and every case.

Further, the right to counsel includes all important stages of the criminal process. This involves the time of arrest and through an initial appeal if convicted. Issues may arise when courts are forced to interpret the Sixth Amendment and its overall scope. As can be expected, some courts will deem the right to be quite broad, while others have determined the right to be more narrow. However, a common interpretation is that the defendant shall receive “effective assistance of counsel.”

In this case, it does not matter if the attorney is hired by the defendant, himself or if the attorney has been court appointed. If a client is unhappy with his attorney because of his handling of the case and argues that he was not given “effective counsel,” the client will have to meet a high burden of proof to make his case. A client must show that, had it not been for the attorney's incompetence, the outcome of the case would have been different.

So, an attorney is expected to provide effective counsel to a criminal defendant, but what exactly does a lawyer do? In very general terms, an attorney is expected to provide the following to a criminal defendant-client:

  • Advise the client of his rights and ensure those rights are protected
  • Explain the different stages of the criminal process
  • Be willing to explore potential plea bargains
  • Engage in proper discovery and other pretrial processes
  • Act on behalf of client through appropriate examination of witness, object to improper actions taken by the prosecution, and present any available defenses

Being charged with a crime in California is a undoubtedly a difficult situation. It is often times confusing and overwhelming. You have the right to be represented by effective counsel who will advocate on your behalf and ensure your rights are being protected.

About the Author

Terry A. Wapner

Terry A. Wapner confines his practice to the defense of persons accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and related crimes.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

What Happens Now?

Roadside arrest

It’s a frightening situation. You are arrested for DUI after submitting to a breathalyzer and participating in a couple of field sobriety tests. The officer confiscated your driver’s license and provided you with a temporary license. You were given a notice to appear in court in a few weeks. Now what? Fresno DUI attorney, Terry A. Wapner, can help you make sense of this situation, guide you through the process, and might be able to provide the defense that results in finding you Not Guilty!

Myths & Truths About DUI Charges

Dui1

Myth: “There is nothing that a Fresno DUI defense lawyer can do.” Truth: Absolutely not true. Over the past 7-10 years, the conviction rate in California for DUI's is only around 70 percent. That means that 30 percent of the charges are being reduced to charges that are less than a DUI charge or not guilty verdicts are being returned. I have the ability and have won Fresno DUI cases. Do not give in to despair and believe that you are destined to lose. Entering a guilty plea to a DUI charge when the evidence against you can be challenged may result in an expensive mistake that could haunt you in the long run.