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August 23, 2023

Principle 6: Early and Confidential Access to Counsel

Counsel should be appointed immediately after arrest, detention, or upon request. Prior to a client's first court appearance, counsel should confer with the client and prepare to address pretrial release and, if possible, probable cause. Counsel should have confidential access to the client for the full exchange of legal, procedural, and factual information. Waiver of the right to counsel and waiver of the person's right to court appearance should never be coerced or encouraged. Before a person may waive counsel, they must be provided a meaningful opportunity to confer with a defense lawyer who can explain the dangers and disadvantages of proceeding without counsel and, if relevant, the implications of pleading guilty, including the direct and collateral consequences of a conviction.