Accused Of A Crime? Know Your Rights
What could be more terrifying than being charged with a crime? As you are cuffed and driven to the county jail, thoughts of years behind bars and the loss of freedom, family, and job overwhelm. Nevertheless, whatever charges you may be facing, you need to know that you have very clear, Constitutionally guaranteed rights. An experienced local criminal defense attorney can ensure that those rights are protected moving forward.
6th Amendment Protections
For starters, you have the right to know the nature of the charges, who is accusing you, and what evidence the State has against you. You are entitled to legal representation by an attorney, whether it is someone you hire privately, or one is appointed for you due to limited finances. Importantly, you have the right to choose not to cooperate with any questioning or interrogation without having your attorney at your side. Your trial must occur within a reasonable time period and must occur in public view to some extent. Additionally, you are entitled to be tried before an impartial jury if you so choose. Procedures have been established to guide the jury selection process in order to ensure that you get a fair trial.
4th Amendment Protections
You have the right to refuse a search of your home, vehicle, effects, etc. without probable cause or a warrant. This limits the ability of local and federal agencies to tap your phone, spy on you using drones, or look in the trunk of your car when you are pulled over. This includes field sobriety tests, which count as a consent search, and can be refused without legal penalty.
5th and 14th Amendment Protections
You are entitled to due process of law. What does this mean? Simply put, established procedures must be followed in all criminal matters prior to any conviction on criminal charges. The law must be applied evenly and fairly across all races, genders, cultures, etc. Finally, you are protected from having your property seized without fair compensation.
You may not be forced to testify against yourself. If you choose not to testify in your own trial, the prosecutor cannot claim that it is evidence of your guilt in the case. Additionally, if you are acquitted, you can never again be tried for the same crime.
8th Amendment Protections
While many crimes carry fiscal penalties, the State cannot attach unreasonable or disproportionate fines to any crime. Along similar lines, unreasonably high bail is not permitted. If convicted, the 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
A Strong Criminal Defense
At The Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A., our La Plata & Waldorf criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge and passion to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients. If you are facing criminal charges now is the time to schedule a confidential consultation. Contact us today!