Everyone has seen legal dramas on T.V., and they almost all understand that the police inform those who are arrested of their right to an attorney. That’s true in real life, too. Anyone who is being accused of a crime does have a right to an attorney being present during official questioning or trial.

The United States protects those who are accused by making sure that everyone can have access to an attorney. If you cannot afford to work with an attorney on your own, then the court can generally appoint one to your case. 

When does the right to an attorney begin?

Generally speaking, you will have a right to work with an attorney during every step of your case. That includes the moment of your arrest through your first appeal following a conviction. For example, if you’re approached by the police and told you’re a suspect in a crime, you can stay silent and ask for your attorney.

Why should you work with an attorney during your criminal case?

No matter where you are in your case, it’s a smart choice to work with an attorney. Your attorney has a few purposes. Some include to:

  • Advise you of your rights
  • Talk to you about what you should expect as you move through the criminal trial process
  • Work to negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf
  • Make sure that your rights aren’t violated during the entire process

What can you do if you believe the attorney who has been appointed to your case is not competent?

It’s usually best to try to choose your own attorney. While attorneys are all held to the same standards, the reality is that some are better than others.

In the case that an attorney’s incompetence directly affects the results in court, you can ask for a conviction to be overturned. It’s smart to reach out to an attorney you trust if you believe that council that has been appointed to you is not doing a good job, so you can get the representation that you deserve and that you know is representing your best interests.