When one faces criminal charges, they are known as a defendant. Before conviction, the government must prove the person’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The Constitution offers defendants many rights, which control investigation, prosecution and punishment. Read on to learn about a defendant’s rights according to Federal law.
Protections Offered by the Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure. Probable cause is required, and prosecutors may not use illegal evidence against a defendant. A seizure or search requires a warrant, but there are limited exceptions.
A Defendant’s Rights According to the Fifth Amendment
The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protects defendants against self-incrimination by giving them the right to remain silent; it also protects against double jeopardy. The Amendment protects defendants against incriminating themselves during an arrest or a trial, and they have the right to testify for themselves and to face their accusers. The Constitution prevents the government from retrying defendants for the same offense.
The Sixth Amendment
In the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, defendants are given the right to hire legal counsel, the right to confront the opposition’s witnesses, and the right to a fair and speedy trial. Every defendant has a right to legal counsel; those who cannot afford it are provided an attorney. Defendants also have a right to a public, speedy trial. This right ensures that hearings aren’t conducted in secret, and defendants must be tried by a jury of their peers.
Rights Afforded by the Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment gives defendants the right to receive reasonable bail, and protection from punishments that are cruel or unusual. Bail must be proportionate to the nature and severity of the offense and the defendant’s flight risk. Defendants are protected from cruel and unusual punishment; they are guaranteed basic medical care, and they receive sentences commensurate with the offense’s severity.
Hiring Legal Representation When Facing Criminal Charges
If one is facing criminal charges, proper legal representation can be crucial. Criminal cases are complex, and it is usually in the defendant’s best interests to hire an attorney. A Houston criminal defense lawyer such as the firm at Vinas & Graham can represent the defendant in court and protect their legal rights.