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Consulting With a Missouri Public Defender When Accused of a Crime
A Missouri public defender is the right person to turn to if you cannot afford an attorney but need one to represent you. Officers should have read you your Miranda rights if you have been arrested and charged with a crime. These, in part, state that you “have the right to an attorney.” When you do not have the financial means to pay for one yourself, the court will appoint a public defender to take your case and ensure you have a fair trial. An initial consultation is crucial during this process.
Understanding the role of a public defender
Unless the defendant has legal experience as an attorney, it is highly unlikely that the individual will be qualified to act as their legal counsel. A public defender will fight on the defendant’s behalf to protect the person’s rights and interests. The defender is a fully licensed and qualified attorney. The government pays for these attorneys, but they work for the defendant.
The defender will thoroughly examine the client’s case and devise a strategy to get the most favorable outcome possible. This attorney will have experience representing clients who have criminal charges and face stiff penalties. Therefore, the defender should be open about the client’s prospects. Ideally, with the attorney’s work, the judge in the case will drop or reduce the charges.
Discussing the case details
In the initial consultation with the public defender, the defendant should describe in depth the issues that led to the arrest and charges. The lawyer will ask many questions about what happened, who else was involved, and what unusual circumstances may have existed leading up to and during the event. The attorney will demand honesty and forthrightness on the part of the individual. In return, the defender will listen intently and show sympathy and concern for the person.
Reviewing the client’s options
After discussing the defendant’s case, the public defender will outline the next steps. These include viable defense options for the person. For example, the defender may advise the client at this point whether to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. In addition, the defender may explain that filing a motion to dismiss or entering a plea bargain with the prosecution is possible. Again, the lawyer will be open during this discussion and give the client an accurate picture of the person’s outlook.
Building a strategy
At this point in the consultation, the attorney will discuss a plan of attack. The public defender and client may discuss evidence that the prosecution has and witnesses that could speak in favor of the defendant. The defender will be realistic and tell the client what to expect during the trial. This is also a good time for the defender to discuss courtroom protocol and etiquette.
Your attorney will look out for you
You may not have the financial means to pay for a private attorney. However, this does not mean you will not have a competent advocate to speak for you. A public defender will work with dedication to represent you well. Begin by discussing the case in a consultation.
Call us at (417) 865-2181 for more information from Dean Price Law or to schedule a consultation in our office in Springfield. NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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