Anyone being charged with criminal charges has the right to have a court appointed attorney if he or she cannot afford to hire a private criminal attorney. But be sure that the attorney to be hired can defend you to criminal charges that you are facing.
For many who are facing criminal charges, hiring a private Florida criminal attorney is simply not an option, usually because of their financial situation. However, you have the right under the US Constitution to a court appointed attorney to represent you throughout the case. Although you do also have the right to represent yourself, you must be able to prove to the judge presiding over your trial that you have legal knowledge and ability to do this adequately, see Musca Law.
It is worth noting that by hiring a private Florida criminal attorney your chances of success in court are only marginally higher than if you have a court appointed attorney representing you. No matter how you are represented, you should make yourself aware of the benefits of having an attorney representing you:
- Communicating with court officials and other personnel who may otherwise refuse to talk you if you were to represent yourself
- Negotiate on your behalf the possibility of pre-trial programs
- Offer you advice and support about the nature of the charges you are facing, the law as it applies in your case and the potential penalties if convicted
- Build your defense case based on all available evidence, witness and expert testimony, past case precedents and applicable law
- Present your defense case in court to include cross examination of prosecution witnesses, as well as interviewing defense witnesses
If you do choose to go down the route of self-representation then you will need to be able to do all of the above yourself. This entails research and education on state and federal laws, knowing how to present your case in court, find witnesses and obtain details of all the evidence in your case. Even if you successfully achieve all of this, there is still a strong chance that the judge in your trial will over-rule your right to self-representation on the grounds that you cannot adequately defend yourself in the eyes of the law.
When it comes to finding a Florida criminal attorney you must remember that you should hire someone who practices within the state in which the crime was committed and in which the case will be heard. You also need to bear in mind that not all attorneys will deal in the criminal charges specific to your case so you need to look for an attorney who does. Criminal attorney’s work under different practices; some will be sole practitioners whilst others will work within a large firm of partners.
Choosing the right attorney for you can depend upon many factors including their experience in your type of case, their current workload, the specifics of your case and of course, their fees. But when you do make a choice about who to hire, it should be based on choosing an attorney with whom you feel comfortable working with and with whom you feel you will be able to establish a lawyer-client relationship.