In the United States, if you are accused of committing a criminal act, you have the right to an attorney, whether that is an attorney whom you hire privately or a public defender. The fact is that you have the right to a defense. Sometimes, it may be preferable to have a private attorney rather than working with a public defender but you still have the right to choose whom you wish to defend you.
As a U.S. citizen, you have rights and those rights should never be violated. The law is that any and all people who are arrested and charged with a criminal act must be told that they have a right to an attorney and that if they cannot afford an attorney that the state will provide an attorney for them. When it comes to the defense of an accused person, they need an attorney the most right after they have been arrested.
The U.S. public defense system may be faltering
In recent times, there have been situations where some people were charged with a crime but were not given a public defender to represent them in court. In many cases, there was a long waiting time before they could get a public defender assigned to their case. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months before the accused person can obtain a public defender. So, how does that affect the outcome of their case?
The answer is that it could affect their case a great deal. Statistics show that in that situation, the accused person has a much better chance of being convicted of the crime for which they are being accused if they don’t have legal representation.
What is being done about the situation?
There is a government organization, the Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS), which is in charge of making sure that people accused of a crime are able to obtain a public defender to defend them. However, there is a serious shortage of public defenders, which renders the OPDS unfortunately unable to do its job effectively.
Because there is such a serious shortage of public defenders at the moment, many of the criminal cases are not moving through the U.S. justice system quickly and there is a tremendous backup. That means that the public are not getting what they need and to what they are entitled.
Solid defense from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney
If you are accused of a crime, the solid advice of a Kansas City, Missouri, defense attorney may make a tremendous difference in your case. It is essential that your rights are protected and the attorney can help you to ensure that you do that effectively. Not only do you need to be concerned about what is happening currently but you will also want to safeguard your future to make sure that you live a good life going forward.