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In 1963 the United State Supreme Court decided whether a

criminal defendant

had a Constitutional right to be represented by an attorney during the criminal process.

The landmark case was Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) 372 U. S. 335. In a unanimous decision the United States Supreme Court held, that under the Sixth Amendment to the United States, that state courts were required to provide criminal defendants with an appointed attorney if the defendant is unable to hire their own attorney.

Justice Hugo Black delivered the opinion of the Court. In delivering the opinion of the court, Justice Black stated that the Court was “returning to … old precedents, sounder we believe than the new”.

When first decided, the ruling in Gideon was generally interpreted by legal scholars as applying only to felony cases. However, in 1972 the right to appointed counsel was extended by the United States Supreme Court to misdemeanor cases when the defendant is sentenced to be imprisoned. Argersinger v. Hamlin, (1972) 407 U. S. 25.

The ruling in Gideon was far reaching. The decision led to the establishment and refinement of the public defender system in the United States. Today, it is common practice for many cities, counties and state governments to have a system whereby criminal defendants can be appointed an attorney if they are unable to hire an attorney.

Remember, if you are arrested by the police you have the certain Constitutional rights. Use Your Constitutional Rights. You have the right to:
1. Remain Silent;

2. You Have The Right To Have An Attorney Present During Questioning;

3. If You Can Not Afford To Hire An Attorney, You Have The Right To Have An Attorney Appointed;

The right to representation can include the right of self-representation.  As an individual, you have a constitutional right to represent yourself at all stages of the criminal process.  A court must grant an individual's right to self-representation if certain requirements are met, including, if the individual is mentally competent, makes the request under conditions reflecting the individual made the request knowingly and intelligently, if the request is unequivocal and the request is made in a timely manner.  The court will make sure the individual knows that self-representation is unwise. Nevertheless, if the requirements are met the court must grant the right of self-representation.

In the event you are contacted by the police, do not try and represent yourself, demand an attorney prior to any questioning or interrogation. Do not make any statements or speak to the police without your attorney present. Invoke your right to remain silent and to have your attorney present during any questioning.

There is nothing you can say or do to stop an investigation and anything you say will be used against you in the prosecution of the case. Speaking to the police can, and will often times, make your situation worse.  Do not try and talk you way out of the situation.  The police have heard all the stories as to why you did not commit the crime.  Stay silent and demand your right to an attorney.

If you have been arrested or accused of a crime, do not navigate the criminal process on your own and do not try and represent yourself. Contact a qualified criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights and the circumstances of your case. The Sierra Law Center, APC is an aggressive law firm that will throughly evaluate and investigate your case.

Grass Valley Criminal Defense Attorney Jacob D. Zamora, Esq.
Office Address: 578 Sutton Way, #124 Grass Valley, California 95945
The information on this Sierra Law Center, APC & Lawyers / Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.