When you are arrested, it is because the police have reason to believe that you have committed a crime. But, police officers are human and just as likely to make mistakes as anyone else.
When you are accused of a crime, being aware of the rights granted to every criminal defendant by the United States Constitution is your first line of defense. Here are several of the most important rights that you should be aware of if you are ever accused of a crime.
You have the right to remain silent
Anything you say before or after you have been arrested can jeopardize your defense. So, speak only when advised by an attorney.
You have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution gives you the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, meaning that unless the police have a warrant, you do not have to give them permission to search your body, home, vehicle or property. Anything that they find can be used against you in court. So if you are presented with warrant, you should ask to examine it before giving them permission to perform the search.
You have the right to avoid self-incrimination
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gives you the right to refuse to testify against yourself. This means that you can refuse to take the stand in court. Even if you do take the stand, you can refuse to answer certain questions by simply “pleading the Fifth”.
You have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty
This means that you are spared the burden of having to prove your own innocence. It is the prosecutor’s job to produce evidence that proves, “beyond a reasonable doubt”, that you are guilty of the crimes you have been accused of.
You have the right to be granted bail
Generally, you have the right to be granted bail, unless you are a flight risk. In addition, the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution requires that bail be set at a reasonable amount and “not excessive”.
You have a right to know what you are accused of
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution grants you the right to know what you are accused of, as well as, who is making the accusations.
You have the right to confront your accusers
The Sixth Amendment also gives you the right to confront your accusers face-to-face, by way of cross-examination in a court of law, where the jury can decide upon the reliability of the accuser’s testimony.
You have the right to a speedy and public trial
This means that your trial should be held without unreasonable delays. Several factors may be examined to determine if there were any delays that can be seen as unreasonable and that may have jeopardized your right to a fair trial. In addition, with the exception of certain juvenile procedures, your trial must be open and available to the public to ensure transparency and fairness.
You have the right to an attorney
You have the right to have an attorney represent your interest. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court is required to provide one for you. This is one of your most important constitutional rights. When you are accused of a crime, you should always consult with an attorney before making any decision or answering any questions.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of a crime, you have several constitutional rights that may be invoked to protect your innocence, not the least of which is the right to an attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney from Piolettilaw.com, who brings knowledge of the laws, rules, and procedures of the criminal justice system, is your best defense against any criminal charges.