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What Is a Court Appointed Attorney?

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What Is a Court Appointed Attorney?

In any criminal case, the criminal defendant always has the right to an attorney. If the defendant cannot secure their own attorney, the court will provide the defendant with a public defense lawyer. This is a court-appointed attorney who will assist the criminal defendant with their defense case.

Court appointed attorneys perform such tasks as:

  • Researching laws that apply to the case
  • Analyzing the facts of the case
  • Formulating legal defense theories for the defendant
  • Representing the defendant during court proceedings

Do I Always Need to Keep My Court Appointed Attorney?

Although criminal defendants have a right to an appointed attorney, they are not obliged to retain them. The defendant can hire their own lawyer if they feel that this is needed. For instance, if it seems that there may be a conflict of interests between the court appointed attorney and the defendant, it may be necessary to hire a different lawyer. Of course, arrangements need to be made in order to transfer the necessary information for the case.

What Other Rights Do Criminal Defendants Have?

Besides the right to an attorney, the criminal defendant also has a number of constitutional rights. Rights of criminal defendants also include:

  • The right to a speedy trial
  • The right to not be tried for the same crime twice
  • The right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
  • Rights to confront witnesses
  • Various other rights under state laws

Thus, another function of the criminal attorney is to ensure that these defendant rights are not violated or overlooked in any way during the criminal trial process.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Assistance with a Criminal Case?

You may wish to hire your own lawyer if you need assistance with any criminal law matters. A qualified criminal defense attorney can represent you during the case and can inform you of your legal rights. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you have any special preferences or needs regarding your case.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 08-11-2014 12:46 PM PDT

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