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Your Right to Legal Assistance

Posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

There are many reasons that good, honest people can end up facing criminal charges. Otherwise law abiding citizens are often at a loss to understand how the legal system works and what their rights are in it. The shock of being charged with a crime and coming to grips with the actual and potential ramifications of facing charges can be overwhelming. The result sometimes is that people do nothing, putting their trust in the court system to defend their rights and look out for their best interests. Unfortunately, this can have disastrous results. If you are facing charges in a criminal matter, you need an aggressive attorney who will rigorously defend your rights. In a time when prison sentences are often more harsh than what suits the crime and even innocent people can end up doing hard time for crimes they did not commit, a strong legal defense is not only your right – it is a necessity.

Your Right to Effective Legal Counsel

Under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, you have the right to the assistance of legal counsel if you are facing charges. A key part of this provision is not just the right to any legal counsel, but to effective legal counsel. From the moment you are charged and arrested, a knowledgeable and aggressive attorney can negotiate matters such as bond hearings and bail to ensure you are out from behind bars as soon as possible, for the least amount of money possible. A dedicated attorney may even be able to have your charges dropped or dismissed through the process of preliminary and evidentiary hearings.

Unfortunately, inadequate legal assistance can have the opposite effect. You could end up sitting in jail and being dragged through a lengthy court process that leaves your finances and reputation in tatters over charges that never had the proper evidence to support them from the beginning. You could even face conviction on charges for which the evidence clearly points to your innocence. The Innocence Project, a national organization dedicated to exonerating people convicted of charges they did not commit, estimates that there are anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people sitting in U.S. jails at this moment who have been falsely convicted.

The Differences between a Public Defender and A Private Attorney

In light of your constitutional right to assistance of counsel, the courts will appoint a public defender to people who fall within certain income guidelines. While free legal assistance may sound appealing, people who choose to be represented by a public defender may pay a heavy toll in the long run. While the competence of individual lawyers who serve as public defenders is not necessarily in question, the heavy caseload these legal professionals are required to carry results in less than favorable outcomes for their clients. According to Political Research Associates, a nationally recognized social justice think tank, public defenders are overworked, forced to handle hundreds of cases more than is prudent. The potential problems with being appointed a public defender include:

  • Long wait times in terms of actually getting a public defender appointed;
  • Inadequate communication between public defenders and clients;
  • Unfamiliarity with all of the details surrounding a particular client’s case;
  • Failure to appear at hearings on behalf of the client; and
  • Failure to adequately survey all of the evidence in a client’s case.

All of the above result in less than effective legal representation that puts the freedom and livelihood of the client at risk. Because of their overworked status, public defenders typically get fewer dismissals and acquittals and end up with harsher sentences for their clients than privately hired attorneys.

Reach Out to Our Office for Help

If you’re facing criminal charges, you need an aggressive attorney to uncover evidence and establish a firm legal defense to clear your name. Don’t hesitate to call Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C. for professional assistance with your case. Our team of attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf, and will keep you informed throughout on every aspect of your case. We ensure clients have ample opportunities to ask questions and offer feedback, and will work with you to ensure the best possible legal outcome. Call our office today at (815) 730-8860 for a consultation.

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