TULSA, Oklahoma. Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling of Gideon v. Wainwright, all defendants under the sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution are guaranteed the right to receive representation by a lawyer. Before Gideon, according to PBS, Florida courts claimed that only individuals facing the death penalty were entitled to a lawyer. The Supreme Court disagreed. Today, whether you are facing felony charges or misdemeanor charges, if you cannot afford a lawyer, one should be appointed for you.

However, the reality for some poor criminal defendants is a situation where they receive no court-appointed defense lawyer. Some municipal courts do not have public defenders present to serve indigent clients. Public defenders who do represent poor clients are often overworked and under-funded.

Misdemeanor charges can wreak havoc on a person’s life and livelihood. A misdemeanor charge can result in difficulty getting a job, problems accessing federal and local aid, problems finding adequate housing, and other difficulties. These issues can haunt a person for life because misdemeanors can be hard to discharge from a person’s records. Individuals may be pressured by courts to plead guilty to what they believe are “lesser” misdemeanor charges, unaware that these charges can haunt their personal, work, and financial lives for years to come.

According to the New York Times, the A.C.L.U. is fighting to set a precedent that would require all jurisdictions to provide public defenders to indigent defendants. Yet, as it stands, many homeless, mentally ill, and poor individuals facing crimes pass through the justice system without even speaking to a lawyer. These individuals may not always be aware that they have the right to be represented for free if they cannot afford a lawyer.

Yet, if you can afford a lawyer, it is often wise to hire one. Many districts will only provide a lawyer for free if you can prove that you cannot afford one. Furthermore, overworked public defenders may only have minutes to handle your case. When your life, freedom, future, and livelihood is on the line, you need the Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C., criminal defense lawyers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our firm will take the time to review your case, understand your charges, and help you understand your options under the law.

In some instances, during municipal trials, individuals who choose to have a jury trial may be forced to wait over a month in some cases to have their case heard. If a judge decides their case on the spot, they face a 30-day jail sentence. Bureaucracy leads to a situation where innocent or guilty, you’ll face jail time, unless you can find a lawyer who can argue your case, set bail, and fight for your rights.

If you are facing criminal charges in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is important to understand your rights. You have the right to be represented by a lawyer. You have the right to fight for your innocence. You are, after all, innocent until proven guilty. If you are facing criminal charges in Tulsa, Oklahoma, visit the Henson Law Firm, P.L.L.C. at https://myoklahomadefenselawyer.com/ to learn more about your options and rights.