A criminal defendant is someone who has been accused of committing a crime. This means they have been charged with an offense and must appear in court to answer for their alleged wrongdoing.
The defendant may or may not be guilty of the crime—that’s for the court to decide—but regardless, they are legally responsible for appearing before a judge and defending themselves against the charges.
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A Criminal Defendant Has Rights
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it’s important to understand the rights of those accused. All criminal defendants have certain rights that are guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and these rights should be respected throughout the legal process. Here is an overview of a criminal defendant’s rights, though this list is not exhaustive.
The Right To Remain Silent
Perhaps the most well-known right for any criminal defendant is the right to remain silent. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions from law enforcement without an attorney present. In fact, your silence cannot be used as evidence in court against you in any way. It’s important never to answer questions from law enforcement without legal representation present, as anything said can be twisted and used against you later on in court.
The Right To a Lawyer
The right to counsel is another fundamental right for criminal defendants. Those who cannot afford an attorney will be provided one free of charge by the state if their case goes to trial or through further proceedings in court. Defendants also have the right to choose their own lawyer if they wish and can pay for one privately.
The Right To Face Your Accuser
Criminal defendants also have the right under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be confronted with any witnesses against them at trial if applicable. This means that defendants will have the opportunity to face their accuser in court during trial proceedings regarding their case. This includes both victims and witnesses who may testify against them in court.
The Right Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers. This means that police officers must have probable cause—evidence that suggests that you have committed a crime—or a valid search warrant signed by a judge before they can search your property or arrest you (unless an exception is met). Anything obtained through an illegal search or seizure cannot be used as evidence against you in court.
What To Do If You’re Arrested in Dayton, OH
Being arrested can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Knowing what to do in the event of an arrest can help minimize the potential risks and ensure your rights are respected. Here’s what you need to know if you ever find yourself arrested.
Stay Calm and Follow Instructions
The first thing you should do if you are arrested is to stay calm and follow instructions. This may sound obvious, but it is important to remain calm and not resist or argue with law enforcement officers. Any resistance or attempts to argue your case could result in additional charges being filed against you.
Contact a Lawyer
The next step is contacting a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you on how best to proceed with your case and protect your interests throughout the process.
Look for lawyers who specialize in criminal defense and have experience with cases like yours. They will be able to guide you through all stages of the legal system and work towards getting your charges dropped or reduced if possible.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer should also be able to explain any legal terms associated with your case in plain language so that it’s easier for you to comprehend exactly what is happening throughout each stage of the proceedings.
Understand the Charges Against You
It’s important that you take time to understand all the charges against you so that you can build an effective defense strategy for your case. Don’t say anything to law enforcement without speaking to your lawyer first.
Contact a Dayton Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help If You’ve Been Accused of a Crime
If you or someone you love is a defendant in a criminal case, contact an experienced attorney for assistance. A Dayton criminal defense attorney will protect the rights of the accused and ensure that they are treated fairly throughout the process. Contact us today at (937) 531-0435 to schedule a no-obligation no-cost consultation at Suhre & Associates, LLC we are here to help you.