For those who find themselves accused of a crime, our Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights which include the following:
The Presumption of Innocence:
Unless and until evidence proves to the contrary, every defendant is assumed to be innocent.
The Right to a Lawyer:
If you are accused of a crime, the Constitution guarantees you the assistance of counsel for your defense throughout the case – from preliminary hearings and arraignment through trial. And even before a formal criminal prosecution begins, you have the right to counsel during police questioning.
The Right to Remain Silent:
You are under no obligation to discuss the facts of your case with anyone, not with the police, not with the prosecutor, not with the judge, not even with the jury. No inference of guilt can be made if you say that you want to remain silent or that you want a lawyer.
The Right to Trial by Jury:
In every criminal prosecution, you have the right to a public trial by an impartial jury, held in the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed.
The prospect of a jury trial can be overwhelming. With an experienced lawyer at your side, you should have every confidence in our jury system. It is to be embraced, not feared. Jurors are real people, just like you, and they bring to the courtroom not any special expertise, but rather, their common sense and ordinary experience.
The Right to Confront and Cross-Examine Witnesses:
Every defendant has the right to confront and cross-examine all of the witnesses against him. The State’s story is not the end of the story: it is your lawyer’s job to help you show, when appropriate, that the evidence from the State’s witnesses is misleading, or even false.
The Right to Compulsory Process:
As a defendant in a criminal case, you have the right to have access to legal process – that is, to court-issued subpoenas – to require witnesses in your favor to appear at court for your trial.
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt:
The presumption of innocence follows you throughout a trial unless and until a jury finds you guilty. If the government is unable to prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt, then you are entitled to be acquitted.