Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer
Display their FAQs
YOUR RIGHTS AS A CITIZEN ACCUSED OF A CRIME
As a citizen accused of a crime, you have constitutional rights which protect you from being railroaded. Most of these protections are enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The Presumption of Innocence. Even though you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you are innocent until proven guilty. This presumption of innocence continues until you enter a guilty plea or are found guilty after a jury trial.
The Right to Be Safe From Unreasonable Searches and Seizures. This protection is enshrined in the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. These guarantees protect you from searches of your property by law enforcement without a search warrant and also from being arrested without an arrest warrant. Law enforcement must obtain arrest and search warrants from a judge. To do so law enforcement must show there is probable cause to believe that you were involved in criminal activity before a judge will issue a search warrant or an arrest warrant.
It is important to note there are exceptions to the arrest warrant and search warrant requirements. Still, these exceptions are clearly defined and provide much accountability to ensure law enforcement does not use these exceptions to get around the warrant requirements.
The Right to Remain Silent. This is enshrined in the 5thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution. You have the right to refuse to answer law enforcement questions. If you are approached by law enforcement you are required to identify yourself and provide identification if you are asked. However, if they seek to question you about a crime you have the absolute right to refuse to answer. The prosecution in a jury trial is prohibited from commenting on your refusal to answer questions. This right is so fundamental that a mistrial can result if a prosecutor does mention to a jury that you didn’t answer questions from law enforcement.
The Protection Against Being Charged Twice for the Same Offense. This is the prohibition against double jeopardy, enshrined in the 5thAmendment. If you are charged with a crime and are found not guilty, then the State may not charge you again with the same offense. This does not apply to a prosecution in federal court after you are found not guilty in state court.
You Have the Absolute Right to a Jury Trial. The 6thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to have a jury trial; under no circumstances are you required to enter into a plea agreement if you want the state to convince a jury of your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
You Have the Right to Confront All Witnesses Against You.The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to confront and question all witnesses who provide any evidence which the State presents to a jury in order to prove your guilt. This is the timeless process known as cross-examination. It has been said that cross-examination is the greatest truth-finding mechanism ever devised.
You Have the Right to be Represented by a Lawyer. The 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to have a lawyer defend you against the charge you are facing. This right includes the guarantee that the government will provide one for you if you cannot afford to hire one.
You Have the Right to Reasonable Bail. The 8thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees you the right to have bail set in an amount you can reasonably afford. The purpose of bail is to ensure that you will appear for your court dates. That said, some offenses carry with them punishments that are so severe that bail is not an option.
You Have the Right to be Free From Cruel and Unusual Punishment. The 8th Amendment guarantees you the right not to free from torture or a sentence which is degrading or is too severe for the crime committed.
The Right to the Due Process of Law. The 5thAmendment guarantees that you will not be deprived of your freedom unless the government follows procedural and administrative safeguards.