Adequate Representation: Your Right to a Competent Lawyer

As a citizen of the United States, each person is entitled to adequate representation under the Constitution of the United States. This means that citizens have the right to a competent lawyer. Adequate representation not only covers the right to have an attorney present at a trial in a court of law but also that the lawyer is competent in arguing cases in a court of law. If a defendant is found to have had an incompetent lawyer during trial and the verdict of the trial is ‘guilty’ then the ‘guilty’ verdict can be thrown out because of the incompetent lawyer. To prove that the incompetence of a lawyer hurt the trial so much that it cannot go on two things must be proven:

The defendant must be able to show that the lawyer did not do an effective enough job and his or her performance was deficient. The defendant must also prove that his or her legal counsel made errors so serious that the counsel did not perform as they had promised.

The defendant must also prove that the legal counsel of the defendant was so erroneous that it caused unfair prejudice of the defense, making the trial unfair at the same time.

The Public Defender

If a defendant in a court case cannot financially provide themselves with their own legal counsel then the state or jurisdiction that they have been arrested within will provide them with an attorney. It is mentioned in the Miranda Rights that are read to a suspect when he or she is arrested.

Representation for a defendant will be provided for a financially eligible defendant when the defendant is:

  • Charged with a felony or a Class A misdemeanor
  • Is a juvenile alleged to have committed an act of juvenile delinquency
  • Is charged with a violation of probation
  • Is under arrest, when such representation is required by law
  • Is charged with a violation of supervised release or faces modification, reduction, or enlargement of a condition, or extension or revocation of a term of supervised release
  • Is subject to a mental condition hearing
  • Is in custody as a material witness
  • Is entitled to appointment of counsel under the sixth amendment to the Constitution
  • Faces loss of liberty in a case, and Federal law requires the appointment of counsel
  • Is entitled to the appointment of counsel

If and when an attorney is appointed to a citizen of the United States, the fees of the attorney must be made known up front to the defendant. The court will make public what each phase of the trial will cost for the defendant and for the state that is providing the attorney.

If you are in need of legal assistance, consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney in your area to discuss the details of your case..

The stages of the trial are:

  • Arraignment and or plea
  • Bail and detention hearings
  • Motions
  • Hearings
  • Interviews and conferences
  • Obtaining and reviewing records
  • Legal research and brief writing
  • Travel time
  • Investigative work
  • Experts
  • Trials and appeals

Adequate representation of a defendant in a court of law is a right for all citizens of the United States as protected and defined by the Constitution of the United States. If defendants in a court case are not provided adequate representation then their case can either be thrown out, re-tried, or have a verdict thrown out because of the incompetence of the lawyer. If a lawyer is not provided for a defendant when one should be, the defendant can prove incompetence on the part of the state or jurisdiction where the case is being heard.

Always consult with an attorney if you been charged with a criminal offense.