By: DUI Lawyer Atlanta William C. Head
What is the Right to Counsel?
The right to have a lawyer comes from our rights under the U.S. Constitution. Prior to being an independent nation, our legal rights were handed down from England. All the way back to the Magna Carta in 1215, English citizens wanted “protection from the Crown,” when accused of crimes. So, our Founding Fathers expressed the will of the people in America, by adding the right to an attorney to the Bill of Rights.
When the full Constitution was later hammered out, this important Constitutional right was built into our essential protections as citizens.
The right to a lawyer Amendment is the 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Sixth Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights that our forefathers felt was basic to human rights. This is the text of the right to counsel amendment:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
The state right to counsel in felony offenses was ruled upon in a famous United States Supreme Court case, Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963). Until Gideon, the right had been interpreted to only apply to federal felony cases.
As soon as judicial proceedings have been initiated, the right to an attorney applies. In a DUI prosecution, when an officer arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, most states issue a traffic ticket, which is the accusation. In Georgia, a less safe DUI-alcohol or less safe DUI-drugs will be the sole charge, unless the arrested DUI driver takes a blood breath or urine test, which may provide NEW evidence of another “type” of DUI charge, sometimes called DUI per se” or over the legal limit DUI.
Traffic tickets are either written by an officer or printed out inside the patrol car on a thermal printer, after entry on a laptop computer. The DUI suspect is already arrested and detained. DUI attorneys say that THIS is the start of the criminal prosecution, because all misdemeanor DUI cases can be prosecuted on the uniform traffic ticket alone. Prosecutors argue that no right of counsel exists until formal accusations are drawn up.
The US Constitution does not provide a right to counsel for civil matters. There is a right to JURY trial, in civil matters, but the Government need not pay for a lawyer for a civil litigant. Therefore, this highly important access to an attorney in criminal matters offers no right to an attorney in civil cases.
In the age of government austerity (i.e., budget cutbacks), most states now have passed laws that state that any person who wants to apply for a free lawyer, due to being indigent must pay a fee to be investigated, in order to determine assets and ability to pay. This is usually $50.
Then, if the person who takes a FREE attorney, for handling any criminal cases for which jail or probation is part of the statute, the criminal defendant must REPAY the government for all costs incurred by the appointed attorney, UNLESS he or she gets acquitted. So, in most states, including Georgia, do not expect the right to a lawyer to be free.
Our Atlanta lawyers DO give completely FREE Lawyer advice. No $50 fee. No obligation to hire us. The reason for this is that too many accused citizens look for a cheap criminal attorney to defend them, and later have “buyer remorse, when the accused citizen finds out that a guilty plea to the most serious charge is the best that low cost attorney can provide.
When searching for a private Atlanta criminal defense attorney in a driving under the influence case, you can investigate all the lawyers in Atlanta and not find another attorney with the experience and credentials of Atlanta attorney Bubba Head. Any attorney in Atlanta, and especially DUI lawyers, will frankly tell you that no one else in Georgia has made the same impact on shaping DUI law in Georgia.
Bubba Head’s books on drunk driving, his extensive criminal appeals on cutting edge criminal law issues that benefit all criminal defense lawyers in GA, his seminar presentations, to explain how to beat a DUI, are all part of what built his national reputation as the best DUI lawyer in Atlanta and in Georgia. DUI lawyer Bubba Head and his law partners will not take any case for any client, who simply wants to plead guilty to DUI.
Dozens of criminal defense attorneys in Georgia have been trained by Mr. Head and (if asked) will verify his dedication to purpose in finding ways to win DUI cases for his clients. Call us today, at 404-567-5515, for a FREE lawyer consultation, before you hire any criminal defense lawyer in GA.