What are Your Constitutional Rights in Criminal Case Proceedings?

Those accused of a crime have certain important rights that must be respected throughout the legal process and criminal case proceedings. Criminal defendants can take the required actions to defend these crucial rights by being aware of the following rights:

  1. Miranda Rights

Miranda Rights are a set of rights that police inform suspects of when they are detained or before being questioned. They consist of the freedom from being forced to testify against oneself and the right to counsel all through the criminal case proceedings.

  1. Presumption of Innocence

There is a presumption of innocence in the United States, meaning a defendant is presumed innocent until the defendant’s guilt has been established. A jurymust be able to analyze the evidence presented against the defendant objectively and should not enter the case with an idea of the defendant’s guilt.

  1. Right to Remain Silent

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that a defendant “shall not in any criminal prosecution be compelled to be a witness against himself.” The defendant cannot be forced to speak, and neither the prosecutor, the court, nor the defense lawyer can compel the defendant to testify if the defendant elects to keep silent.

  1. Right to a Jury Trial

A person accused of a crime has a constitutional right to a jury trial, except for minor acts with a jail sentence of no more than six months. A 12-person jury has historically been what this right means. However, a jury can legally comprise as little as 6 people. Potential jurors must be chosen randomly from the public, and the jury itself must be chosen through a procedure that enables the court and attorneys to weed out prejudiced jurors.

  1. Right to be Represented by an Attorney

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that the accused shall have the right to seek the assistance of counsel for his defense in all criminal case proceedings. A judge must appoint an attorney at public cost if the defendant cannot afford one before imposing a prison sentence on an accused person.

Lastly, indigent defendants who are represented by appointed counsel and defendants who employ their attorneys are entitled to appropriate representation. Defendants have a right to sufficient legal representation during criminal case proceedings and plea negotiations.




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