A person who is accused of a crime has the right to legal counsel. He can hire a criminal defence lawyer who is equipped to provide legal assistance throughout the criminal process. If the accused cannot afford to hire his own lawyer, the court will assign a public defender on his behalf.
In order for a defendant to receive a court-appointed lawyer, he must be considered an indigent. The defendant will be assessed whether he meets the criteria established by the courts. The courts will look at the defendant’s financial circumstances that include income, assets, debts, and financial obligations that may affect the capacity to pay for legal counsel. However, there are states that do not have a particular formula or income guideline to establish indigency. They determine indigency on a case-to-case basis.
Although criminal defendants have a right to legal counsel, there are some who prefer to waive the fundamental right. Courts strongly advise against this action but usually make an exemption when the defendant is competent to make the decision and is willing to waive his right in a knowing, intelligent and voluntary manner. However, before allowing the defendant to waive his right, the court will ensure that the defendant understands the drawbacks of representing himself in court.
The consequences of waiving the right to legal counsel are significant. A criminal lawyer is very important to every stage of the criminal proceedings. Criminal defence lawyers have invested years in education and training to understand the complex and often confusing criminal justice system. Criminal lawyers know the necessary procedures that must be followed.
A self-represented defendant has to follow the same rules and procedures in the criminal justice system and will not be provided any leeway simply because he is not a legal professional. Criminal lawyers offer the advantage of being familiar with prosecutors when securing a plea agreement for the defendant.
If you are accused of a crime, your best option is to call MyDefence.ca to protect you throughout the legal process. Do not waste your constitutional rights to legal counsel because it can be detrimental to your case particularly if you are facing felony charges.