If you have been arrested on a criminal charge, you must understand some of the basics of criminal law. The rights and responsibilities of each criminal defendant can vary depending on the type of crime they have been accused of committing.
And when it comes to understanding the legal rights of each criminal defendant in the US, most people who watch TV crime shows expect that this matter is relatively easy to understand and particularly easy to go through. However, you know what people say about things that are too good to be true, and being a criminal defendant is definitely not a walk in the park.
When someone has been accused of a crime, they are not simply considered innocent or guilty. Whether the charge is a simple misdemeanor or a serious felony, the charge needs to be proven before the defendant gets a final verdict from the judge if they’re innocent or guilty.
During this process of proving, the defendant has many rights that all parties involved need to respect for the defendant to get a fair trial. This article will give you an overview of some of the fundamental rights involved in being a defendant in criminal prosecution.
Right To An Attorney
The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the accused the right to an attorney for criminal and civil cases. In a criminal case, this means that if you are charged with a crime, you have the right to an attorney to defend you in court. In that case, you should choose a proper criminal defense lawyer and a solid defense team by your side. If you have trouble finding a good defense lawyer to represent your case, you can find one online at www.tsiglerlaw.com to build your case and protect your rights.
The right to an attorney has many benefits. Most defendants would be unable to adequately protect their interests in complex legal proceedings without the assistance of counsel. If they proceed without counsel, they may plead guilty to crimes they did not commit or be unable to defend themselves in court properly.
The right is not automatic, however. It only applies if you are charged with a crime; therefore, it does not apply if you are stopped by police but not arrested or otherwise detained. An attorney will likely advise you against speaking with law enforcement until your free-speech rights have been adequately invoked and explained to you.
Right To Remain Silent
In the U.S., the right to remain silent begins with your first contact with the police. They will tell you that you are not required to answer their questions or say anything at all. However, if you choose to speak, they will record what you say, whether you want them to or not, and could potentially use it against you.
Everyone thinks they have the right to explain themselves, and most people are wrong. But, unfortunately, the police and other authorities can often be bully or trick you into giving up information you would be better off keeping to yourself.
The right not to incriminate yourself isn’t just for criminals anymore. It applies just as much to people suspected of nothing at all. And it isn’t just at the moment we’re accused of having committed a crime—it also extends back in time during the so-called “investigation” that precedes an arrest or accusation.
Right To A Speedy Trial
You might think that the word “speedy” could be construed to mean “as fast as possible,” but that’s not the case. A speedy trial begins within a reasonable time, and reasonableness is a matter for the courts to decide.
This is where you want to be careful. If you ask for a speedy trial and don’t get one, you are entitled to demand immediate action by the judge. The judge must either set a specific date when your case will go to trial or dismiss it outright.
If you don’t demand an immediate ruling from the judge, though, you have forfeited your right to have the judge set a time limit later on, and the judge will have no authority to set one. If you miss your court date, or the court reschedules it, or there is some other holdup that delays matters beyond what you consider reasonable, it’s not the judge’s fault. Unfortunately, it’s yours.
The right to a speedy trial is not absolute, though. There are lots of good reasons why things might get delayed beyond what seems like due process: new evidence may surface, new witnesses may become unavailable, etc.
Each defendant has an important role in the criminal justice system, whether they realize it or not. And when defendants make informed decisions regarding their rights, it generally leads to a better criminal justice system for the accused and the state alike.