For the average citizen, being charged with a crime is something you rarely think about until it actually happens. It could be something as small as a few too many drinks that lands you with a DUI charge or even being at the wrong place at the wrong time that lands you with a charge of unlawful intent. Whatever it is that lands you in hot water, being arrested can make you feel like a criminal long before you've been proven to be so. In the US, everyone who is charged with a crime is simply charged, meaning they are innocent until proven guilty. You should know your rights as a defendant so you have the best shot of avoiding criminal charges that have a guilty verdict.
You have the right to remain silent.
This is the first thing that should be said to you during an arrest, and you've probably heard a lot about this right even as an average citizen because it is commonly tossed about in the media and on television shows. But do you actually know what it means to have the right to be quiet? Basically, your right to remain silent means you don't have to answer any questions from law enforcement without your attorney present. At a time when everything you say could be used to determine your guilt, it is important that you take advantage of this right.
You have the right to an attorney.
Even if it is clear to the authorities that you have committed a crime, you still have the right to have an attorney. Having an attorney means you will have fair and capable representation when your case goes to court. Even if you can't afford to hire an attorney to represent you, the court system has a legal duty to ensure an attorney is made available to you so you are given a fair shot at proving your innocence.
You have the right to present evidence in a trial.
All criminals are given the opportunity to try and prove they are innocent unless they admit to a crime. Your right to have a trial and present evidence during that trial is one thing that can help you out of a really bad situation, even when it looks like you have no other options. To be found guilty of a crime, there is a burden of proof that must be considered.
If you have been charged of a crime, it is in your best interest to find a criminal law attorney at a local firm, such as Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys, who can help you build your case.