Everyone has the right or you could say the privilege to defend themselves in court whenever they are arrested for a crime. And one of the ways defendants can safeguard their liberty is through the right to adequate defense or right to counsel: the chance to have legal representation. In Nevada, the right to adequate defense is greatly exercised and anyone who is charged with a crime can find themselves with a Nevada state public defender if they cannot afford one immediately.
Still, there are many concepts people from Nevada are not aware of about their right to counsel and this article is written to clear up certain notions.
Laws regarding the right to adequate defense in Nevada
Anyone who is accused of a crime can have a legal defense representation as established by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. According to the Nevada criminal code, the right to counsel is “necessary to ensure fundamental human rights of life and liberty”. The earliest law regarding the right to counsel in Nevada dates back to 1909 where it states that “if the defendant appears for arraignment without counsel, he must be informed by the court that it is his right to have counsel before being arraigned and must be asked if he desires the aid of counsel. If he desires and is unable to employ counsel, the court must assign counsel to defend him.”
The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) also had provided clear proof of anyone’s right to adequate defense in Nevada. According to NRS 126.201, the defendant has the right to be represented by counsel during pretrial or further hearings. If the defendant does not have enough finances to hire a defendant, the court may appoint one, granted the defendant agrees to his right to counsel.
Complications of the right to counsel in Nevada
While having a Nevada state public defender assigned to you if you cannot afford one is good news, it can also lead to some problems during the defense. First, some public defenders can have too much workload and not enough time and resources to focus on your case. This can be problematic. However, there could be a chance of a final conviction being overturned if there is clear evidence of the Nevada state public defender’s inability to defend you.
Second, as bad as it may sound, many Nevada state public defenders are half-hearted when helping people who cannot afford a defense lawyer for themselves. Public defenders are paid depending on the time they spend in the court and going further lengths to gain more evidence for the defendant will only decrease their pay. This prompts issues of money being necessary to have a strong representation going on for you.
Lastly, not every county in Nevada is subjected to compulsory county-funded public defender office. Apart from Elko, Humboldt, and Pershing, all of Nevada’s rural counties have no government-furnished public defender offices. This means that if you are charged for a crime in the counties not mentioned, you will be assigned an indigent representation by the State and disadvantages of having one has been discussed above.
Nonetheless, Nevada state public defenders can be a great help and it is more likely that you will be assigned of one that will give all they got to help you. This is especially true now that advocates are stepping out to provide people in rural counties a better application of their right to counsel in Nevada.
Exercising your right to counsel in Nevada
The right to adequate defense can even be found during your usage of your Miranda Rights. When arrested, you have the right to remain silent and have a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas enlisted for you. This can come in handy and might save you from future conviction.
Depending on your preference, you can go on with public defenders throughout your trial or hire the one that will work exclusively on your case.
If you have no better choice, when faced with a criminal case, make sure to exercise your right to an adequate defense. The State of Nevada has a lot of competent attorneys that can be assigned to you if you cannot afford one.