We’ve heard it in almost every crime movie and TV show: as the police arrest the villain, one of the officers informs them of their rights. One of these rights is the right to an attorney to defend them.
This right originates with the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution, specifically the Sixth Amendment. The amendment states in part:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right… to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Though the amendment originally only guaranteed the right an attorney in federal charges, the U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that the same right applied in state courts.
The defense attorney’s job in Wisconsin
When you hire a defense attorney, they do more than show up at your trial date. A capable criminal defense attorney will:
- Be in the room with you during police interrogations, advising you about which questions, if any, you should answer
- Fight to get you out of jail at the lowest possible bail, so you can be free while your case is pending
- Review the evidence the prosecution has collected, including witness statements and physical evidence
- Investigate if police violated your rights at any point and challenge the legality of any resulting evidence
- File necessary pretrial motions
- Negotiate a possible plea settlement that will potentially keep you out of jail
Most importantly, your lawyer will do everything possible to make sure you get treated fairly by the prosecution, the police and the judge. Your civil rights are not safe unless you put them in the hands of a competent and dedicated defense attorney.