The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to legal counsel at all significant stages of a criminal proceeding. This right is so important that there is an associated right given to people who are unable to pay for legal assistance to have counsel appointed and paid for by the government. The federal criminal justice system and all states have procedures for appointing counsel for indigent defendants.
What Is Covered Under the Sixth Amendment?
The Sixth Amendment right to counsel has been extended to the following:
Sixth Amendment Rights
If individuals are arrested in the United States they have a range of rights that give them certain protections, even if they are not a citizen of the United States. These rights include the following:
How the Process Works
A judge will appoint an attorney for an indigent defendant. This attorney will be compensated at government expense if at the conclusion of the case the defendant could possibly be imprisoned for a period of more than six months. In reality, judges almost always appoint attorneys for indigents in practically every case in which a jail sentence is a possibility regardless of how long the sentence may be.
Generally, a judge will appoint the attorney for an indigent defendant at the defendant's first court appearance. For most defendants, the first court appearance is an arraignment or a hearing to set bail.
Assert Your Rights: Consult With a Criminal Defense Attorney
The right to counsel in a criminal trial is so important it's enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. While this particular constitutional right to counsel applies once an interrogation phase begins, there's nothing preventing you from obtaining a lawyer before that point. In fact, the earlier you have a lawyer, the more opportunities you'll have to favorably shape your case for trial. Get started today and contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer near.