It can be a terrifying experience to be accused of a crime, but it is very important for you to remain calm. Your actions can seriously affect the outcome of your case, so now is not the time for you to freak out. Instead, you need to make sure you know your rights so you can use them appropriately.
You have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise it. The police are not your friends once you’ve been arrested, and they aren’t there to help you. They are there to build a case against you. Nothing that you can say is going to change that. Rather, you are likely to dig yourself in a hole.
Seemingly innocuous things could be used against you in the future. Even if you are innocent, it is easy to paint yourself in a guilty light. There is only a small chance that you might convince the police to just let you go. Never talk to the police without consulting a lawyer. They will be able to guide you so that you don’t accidentally say something that could get you into trouble at a later date.
A Speedy and Fair Trial
Under the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to a fair and speedy trial with a jury of your peers. This jury must be unbiased. The Sixth Amendment also gives you the right to confront witnesses against you, have your own witnesses, and be informed of the nature of the accusations against you.
You always have the right to legal counsel for your criminal defense. You have the right to choose who will represent you. If you can’t afford a lawyer, the state will assign one to counsel you. You may also act as your own criminal defense, but doing so is usually not wise if you don’t have legal experience. When you are accused of a crime, your lawyer is your lifeline. Do not say anything about the crime to anyone without their approval.
You have the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. You can and likely should deny any searches that aren’t approved by a warrant. This warrant should be signed by a judge and based on probable cause. It should be limited in scope. This right extends to anywhere you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. This includes your home, car, mail, and many other things.
To protect yourself, it is of the utmost importance that you know your rights. Your freedom could hinge on it. Use your rights to their fullest benefit. Most importantly, remember to remain silent and obtain legal counsel. This increases your odds of a positive outcome.