Understanding Your Right to Legal Representation as a Criminal Defendant

criminal law

Throughout American history, the Supreme Court has handed down cases that are widely characterized as “landmark” decisions because their legal, historical, and/or cultural significance is undeniable.

These cases have helped to shape the American experience both for the better and, in some instances, for the worse. One landmark case that is well known among legal scholars but receives less attention than many cases that focus on broader shifts in culture and society is Gideon v. Wainwright. It was in this case that the Supreme Court acknowledged, with regard to criminal defendants in felony matters, that access to professional legal representation is a Constitutional right. In its decision, the Court observed that:

  • Access to legal counsel is “fundamental and essential to a fair trial”
  • “Our criminal justice system, and our faith in it, depends on effective representation on both sides” and
  • “Lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries”

While criminal defendants do have the right to represent themselves under most circumstances, embracing a “DIY” approach to criminal defense representation is ill-advised. Statistically, it is less likely for a self-represented defendant to mount a successful defense on their own behalf.

The Criminal Justice System Does Not Cater to Self-Represented Defendants

Studies suggest that there are approximately 200 unique steps that must be taken in pursuit of a winning legal strategy, from filing paperwork in specific ways to articulating objections to evidence presented by the opposing side in a matter. There are good reasons why lawyers must earn a doctorate degree in law, study for the Bar exam for months, and participate in ongoing legal education opportunities in order to maintain licensure. The legal system is not designed for self-represented defendants, nor does it slow down for them.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer for Client-Focused Attention

When it comes to representing your interests in a criminal defense case, “any lawyer” just will not do. The stakes of your situation are high enough that you will want the benefit of a knowledgeable, experienced, and reputable advocate. Thankfully, a skilled Will County, IL criminal defense lawyer at The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. is available to assist you at any time.

To learn more, you can schedule a free case evaluation by submitting a contact form on the firm’s website or by calling our offices at (815) 740-4025. Once we have been alerted to your situation, we can begin advocating aggressively for your rights. We look forward to hearing from you.

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26 East Clinton Street Joliet, IL 60432