Generally, a person charged with a drug crime will realize the severity of the consequences of a potential conviction and will seek representation from a competent attorney. Additionally, criminal defendants have a right to representation by counsel under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In some instances, though, a person accused of committing a drug offense will waive that right and choose to proceed to trial without an attorney. A court must engage in certain inquiries to ensure a waiver of Sixth Amendment rights is knowing and willing; however, otherwise, it may be unconstitutional.
The standards for reviewing a criminal defendant’s request to proceed without an attorney were explained in a recent Florida opinion, in which the defendant was charged with drug conspiracy crimes. If you are faced with charges of drug offenses, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to evaluate your options.
The Defendant’s Trial
It is reported that the defendant was charged with conspiracy to possess narcotics with the intent to distribute them, possessing narcotics with the intent to distribute, and other drug offenses. He stated he would proceed without the representation of counsel at trial and was subsequently convicted as charged. He then appealed on several grounds, including the argument that his waiver of the right to counsel was not voluntary or knowing. Upon review, the court rejected his argument and affirmed his conviction. Continue reading ›