A Long Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains the Right of Self Representation

In California, under the Sixth Amendment, a criminal defendant has a constitutional right of self-representation and may waive the right to counsel.  The Judge must grant a defendant’s request for self-representation if three conditions are met:

(1) The defendant must be mentally competent, and must make the request knowingly and intelligently, having been apprised by the court of the dangers of self-representation;

(2) The defendant must make the request unequivocally; and

(3) The defendant must make the request within a reasonable time before trial.

The defendant must assert the right to self-representation within a reasonable time before the commencement of trial. A motion made on the day preceding or the day of trial is generally considered untimely. A court has the discretion to grant or deny a motion that is not made a reasonable time before trial.  According to one well known Long Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer, the court should consider the quality of an attorney’s representation of the defendant, the reasons for the request, the length and stage of the proceedings, and the disruption or delay that might reasonably be expected to follow the granting of the request to represent himself.

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