Your Right to a Criminal Defense Attorney in Michigan

The Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney if you are formally charged with a crime.  When you are arrested and read your Miranda Rights, police officers are instructed to inform you of your right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you if the crime you are charged with carries a possibility of jail time.  It is always best to request an attorney as early as possible.

In all criminal prosecutions involving the possibility of jail time, the accused has the right to the assistance of counsel, pursuant to the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendment right is bestowed upon a defendant when the case reaches a critical stage.  A Federal landmark case determined that the critical stage is met when there is a “trial-like confrontation” in which the prosecution is present and the defendant needs the presence of counsel to ensure a fair trial. The Sixth Amendment applies to criminal prosecutions only; the right does not attach in civil cases.

Right to the Effective Assistance of Counsel in Michigan

The Sixth Amendment guarantees that a defendant not only has an attorney but that a defendant has an effective attorney. When a defendant can prove an ineffective assistance claim under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), he may be able to win a new trial.

In Evitts v. Lucey, 469 U.S. 387 (1985), the Supreme Court held the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to the effective assistance of counsel on an appeal of right.

Right to an Attorney on an Appeal in Michigan

The Fourteenth Amendment, not the Sixth Amendment, gives a defendant the right to an attorney on an appeal of right. The landmark case, Douglas v. California, 372 U.S. 353 (1963) held that the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment required a state to provide an indigent defendant with an appellate attorney. The Court reasoned that a defendant’s inability to afford an appellate attorney to assist him in his defense resulted in discrimination based on the defendant’s wealth, or lack thereof.

There is no right to an attorney on a petition for habeas corpus relief. 

SPeak with Our Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you have been arrested and/or charged with a crime and would like to learn about your criminal defense options, our criminal defense attorney would be glad to meet with you during a consultation at our Troy, Michigan office.

Give us a call today at  248-825-8042 to schedule your  consultation