Florida Legal Article: Destin Lawyer
A Destin lawyer is a good ally to have on your side should you be accused of committing a crime. They can evaluate the facts of your specific case and advise you how the law applies. Criminal defendants are guaranteed certain protections under the United States Constitution, and Destin lawyers strive to make sure their clients’ rights are not trampled on by the government.
The Sixth Amendment states that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right … to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Defendants who cannot afford to hire attorneys are appointed attorneys at no charge to them by the court, although only for cases involving potential punishments of more than 6 months of incarceration. Judges typically appoint lawyers from Destin or elsewhere in just about all cases that involve any length of incarceration to make sure they are not locked into giving unrepresented defendants a shorter sentence than he or she considers appropriate once hearing the evidence against the suspect.
The United States Supreme Court has held that indigent defendants and defendants who hire their own attorneys are equally entitled to adequate representation. Adequate representation means that the Destin lawyer representing a defendant must do a reasonably good job defending the criminal defendant. Of course, adequate representation does not guarantee perfect representation by any means. Here are examples of claims made by defendants to try and get their guilty verdicts overturned, although appellate courts have rejected them:
- a Destin or other lawyer failing to call favorable witnesses during trial;
- a Destin or other lawyer failing to object to a judge’s incorrect instructions to jurors regarding the burden of proof;
- a Destin or other lawyer repeatedly advising a defendant who claimed innocence to plead guilty;
- a Destin or other lawyer using cocaine during the time the representation took place; and
- a Destin or other lawyer representing the defendant while being suspended from the practice of law for failure to pay state bar dues.
Sometimes, though, circumstances are shocking enough that courts find it justifiable to throw out guilty verdicts due to attorney incompetence. Examples of claims that judges have found to justify reversals of guilty verdicts include:
- a lawyer allowing a law student intern to oversee the defense and leaving the courtroom while the case was going on
- a lawyer acknowledging during closing statements that the defendant was guilty of a lesser crime without gaining the defendant’s permission beforehand, and
- a lawyer failing to challenge potential jurors who admitted they would be negatively affected by a defendant’s refusal to testify.
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