Know your rights, regardless of whether you have been accused of a crime or arrested for one, you have rights and it is important that you not only know them but fully understand them. One of the most important and potentially the bedrock of our criminal justice system is the presumption of innocence. This means that a person is presumed to be innocent of the charges that the State has alleged they committed unless they are proven guilty beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. If this presumption is not overcome by the evidence then a person must be found not guilty. Every person that is accused of having committed an offense enjoys this presumption, it is also vitally important for this presumption to be understood and embraced by a jury.
Trial by Jury
Which ties into the next right a person enjoys, which is the right to have a trial by jury. Not only do you have the right to a trial you have the right to a speedy trial if you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense you have the right to be tried 90 days from the date of your arrest. If you have been charged with a felony offense then you have the right be brought to trial within 175 days, you also have the right to waive speedy trial if you believe it is in our best interest to have more time to prepare for trial, investigate the charges or potentially mount a defense.
Now while the size of a jury (either 6 or 12) will depend on the offense every person has the right to have a trial by jury and require the State to prove each element of the offense or of each offense beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. A jury is the finder of fact, meaning they will weigh the evidence and determine if a person is guilty or not guilty. Having each member of the jury believe that the defendant, though, charged with a crime, though arrested and sitting at a table, next to a defense attorney in a criminal courtroom is at that time an innocent is extremely important.
The State’s Burden of Proof
See every person charged with a crime is under no obligation to present any evidence to prove their innocence, it is the State that has the burden of proving the crime that they alleged a person committed. In fact, at trial a defendant may decide to present evidence, witnesses or a defense to the charge however they don’t have too and they enjoy the right to remain silent. If a person chooses to remain silent when the judge will instruct the jury that they are not to consider that persons silence when considering their verdict. A person enjoys the right to confront and cross-examine their accusers, meaning you have the right to challenge the evidence and question the witnesses.
Your Right to an Attorney
Not only do you have that right you have the council, meaning you have the right to be represented by an attorney who is trained in the law and rules of evidence to assist you before, during and sometimes after the trial. If you can’t afford to hire your own attorney, you enjoy the right to have an attorney appointed by the court to represent you. If you wanted you to have the right to represent yourself, though doing so in not highly recommended. An old saying goes the person who represents themselves has a fool for a client.
The Right to Know the Charges Against You
Additionally, you have the right to be not only informed of the specific offense that you are being charged with but you also if you choose, have the ability to receive and review the potential evidence against you. Having an attorney that not only help explain the right you have but also provide you with advice and assistance in exercising them is crucial when charged with a criminal offense.
Your Right to Remain Silent
If you haven’t been charged with a criminal offense, but have been questioned by law enforcement or law enforcement wants to question you pertaining to an incident you have the right to have an attorney, though law enforcement may not need to inform you of your Miranda Warnings depending on the scenario you still enjoy the ability to have an attorney present if you wish before speaking with law enforcement. You also have the right not to speak with them and if you are not under arrest or being placed under arrest you have the right to ask if you are free to go and if so you may leave.
Protect Your Rights—Call Meldon Law Today!
At Meldon Law when knowing the rights you have and are dedicated to defending them and defending you if you have been charged with a criminal offense or are just being investigated by law enforcement call us at 352-373-8000.