Criminal Defense Lawyer in Florida: Understanding Your Right to an Attorney

We cannot all be experts in the law. That said, if we get in trouble with the law (or are accused of it), we want someone who knows the law to represent us. Fortunately, the backbone of our legal system is each person's right to an attorney. This right is true regardless of whether you can afford one or not. Of course, it is always best to be able to choose who represents you in a court of law in Florida.

At Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, our criminal defense lawyer represents clients who face criminal charges in Tampa. We believe our clients make the best decisions for themselves when they are well-formed. So, here we explain what your right to an attorney means. Contact us at 813-320-7500 to schedule a Free and to make sure your rights are preserved as you go through the criminal justice system.

Charged with a Crime in Tampa? You Have a Right to an Attorney

The right to have an attorney when you are accused of a crime is found in the Constitution's 6th Amendment. Specifically, it holds that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall…have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” This right does not apply in civil cases. For example, if you want to sue the police for excessive use of force, you can only do so if you hire an attorney, or, alternatively, you can file the paperwork yourself.

In short, when the charges you face have the potential to result in the loss of your freedom, you have the right to an attorney. It does not matter whether or not you actually receive jail time. If imprisonment is even a possibility, then you have the right to a lawyer. 

You also have the right to hire an attorney of your choice. However, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. You are typically not able to choose your court-appointed attorney.

Florida Violations of a Right to a Criminal Defense

The right to criminal defense is fundamental, and when it is erroneously denied, a defendant is afforded recourse. Statements and evidence that are products of this violation are able to be excluded. 

Why a Right to a Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa is Important 

A criminal defendant is facing the possibility of losing their right to freedom. Because of this, a criminal defense attorney is essential to ensure the defendant has somebody that understands the legal system in their corner. A criminal defense attorney often has a positive influence on a client's case. They work hard to prevent their client from being wrongfully convicted or receiving excessive sentences for any crime they are found guilty of. They make certain the constitutional rights of their clients are upheld. 

While the court is able to appoint an attorney to represent you if you are unable to afford one, it is almost always best to hire your own attorney whenever possible. A court-appointed attorney may not have the experience that your case requires, and even if they do, they often have a huge caseload which means your case may not receive the attention it needs. Also, as your attorney will be receiving very little, if any, pay for representing you, their time may be spent on more lucrative matters.

To What Standard is a Criminal Defense Attorney Held in Tampa?

While the 6th amendment does not explicitly hold that a criminal defendant has “effective assistance of counsel,” this is how it has been interpreted by courts, and if a defendant does not receive it, he may be granted a new trial.  

In Strickland v. Washington 466 U.S. 668 (1984), the court held that the proper standard for constitutional assistance of counsel is that the attorney must have provided reasonably effective assistance when considering all the circumstances. A convicted defendant has the burden of proving that counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. Furthermore, in order to obtain relief, such as another trial, a defendant must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the proceeding would have been different.

Going through the criminal justice system can be overwhelming and frightening. At Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC we are here to assist and to make sure your rights and freedoms are protected. Contact us for a Free either online or by calling 813-320-7500.

All of us can't be legal specialists. We want someone knowledgeable in the law to defend us if we find ourselves in legal problems (or if we are accused of breaking the law). Fortunately, a person's access to legal representation is one of the most critical aspects of our legal system. This right exists regardless of whether or not you have the financial means to purchase one. In a court of law in the state of Florida, it is obviously to your advantage to have the ability to pick who will represent you.


Our firm, Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, provides legal representation to clients in Tampa who are being investigated or charged with a criminal offense. When they are in a well-formed state, our customers can make the best decisions for themselves. Therefore, this section will discuss the meaning of your entitlement to counsel. Get in touch with us at 813-320-7500 to set up a free consultation and ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process of the criminal court system.


Are you facing criminal charges in Tampa? You Have the Right to Representation by an Attorney


The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees all anyone accused of a crime the right to have legal representation of their choosing. Specifically, it states that "the accused shall...have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense in all criminal cases." In civil proceedings, this right does not come into play. If you wish to sue the police for excessive force, you can only do it if you hire an attorney or file the paperwork on your own. Otherwise, you won't be able to do so.

In a nutshell, you have the legal right to an attorney in situations when the allegations brought against you have the potential to result in the loss of your freedom. It makes no difference whether or not you are sentenced to jail time. You are entitled to the assistance of an attorney in the event that you face the possibility of being imprisoned.

You also have the ability to retain the services of an attorney of your choosing in this matter. On the other hand, if you are unable to pay for a lawyer, the court will appoint one for you. In most cases, you will need help to select the attorney assigned to represent you by the court.

Florida Infringements on the Right to Present a Criminal Defense

The right to criminal defense is one of the most fundamental rights; when it is improperly denied, a defendant can seek redress. It is possible to eliminate statements and evidence produced due to this breach.

The Importance of Having the Right to Retain a Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa

Criminal defendants risk having their constitutional right to freedom taken away from them. Consequently, a criminal defense attorney is essential to guarantee that the defendant has somebody familiar with the legal system on their side. A criminal defense attorney can frequently have a favorable impact on the outcome of their client's case. They put forth a lot of effort to protect their client from being wrongly convicted of a crime or having a sentence that is too severe for the crime they were found guilty of. They watch out for their customer's constitutional rights and ensure they are always protected.


Even though the court can assign an attorney to represent you if you cannot afford one, it is nearly always advisable to employ your attorney whenever possible. The court can appoint an attorney to represent you if you cannot afford one. A court-appointed attorney may need to gain the necessary level of experience for your case. Even if they have, they frequently have a significant number of active cases, which means that your case may need more attention. Additionally, because your attorney will receive very little payment for defending you, they may focus their time and energy on other financially rewarding situations.

How Does a Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa Stack Up Against the Competition?

Although the 6th Amendment does not specifically provide that a criminal defendant has the right to "effective assistance of counsel," this is how the courts have interpreted the language of the Amendment. A defendant can be granted a new trial if they do not receive it.

The United States Supreme Court decided, in the case of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), that the appropriate standard for constitutional assistance of counsel is that the attorney must have provided assistance that was reasonably effective when taking into account all of the relevant circumstances. The burden of proof lies with the convicted defendant, who must demonstrate that their attorney's performance did not meet an objective standard of reasonableness. In addition, for a defendant to be granted relief, such as a new trial, the defendant needs to demonstrate that there is a substantial possibility that the procedure would have been different if it weren't for the unprofessional errors committed by their attorney.

The process of going through the criminal justice system can be both stressful and terrifying. We at Rodriguez & Williamson, PLLC, are here to assist you and ensure that your rights and liberties are protected. Contact us at no cost by calling 813-320-7500 or contacting us online.

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