Being accused of a crime is a very serious issue, regardless of the gravity of the offense as such accusations threaten your fundamental right to freedom. Thus, the law always seeks to ensure that the accused is protected until such time that he is either convicted or acquitted of a crime, and such scenarios are something that many a criminal defense attorney in Gallatin, TN deal with on a regular basis. If you happen to be accused of something that constitutes a crime or felony, here are some of the most important rights you should always keep in mind:
To be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This is perhaps the most important right of all defendants, and is in fact one of the paramount canons of democracy. Through this rule, you cannot suffer any of the penalties of the crime you supposedly committed until a jury pronounces you guilty beyond reasonable doubt. This also means that should the jury be split in their decision (hence the presence of “reasonable doubt”), you cannot be convicted.
Protection against self-incrimination.
According to the rule against self-incrimination, an accused does not have to testify in their own defense, nor does he have to answer every question posed by a law enforcement official. This protects you from being subjected to mental, emotional, or even physical force that compels you to be a witness against yourself or to get a confession out of you.
Right to an attorney.
You don’t have to defend yourself in court, nor should you have to confess or testify to anything without an attorney present. According to a Yahoo! Voices article by contributor Steve Thompson the right to an attorney means:
“In the interest of giving each suspect a fair trial (another right) he or she is guaranteed adequate legal counsel. If the suspect is found to be unable to afford an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender. This right is especially important because very few private citizens are experts in law, which means that they are not capable of providing their own defense.”
Right to understand the charges.
This is another one that stems not only from the very principles behind democracy, but international laws on human rights as well. No person accused of a crime should be kept in the dark as to the very nature of the accusation laid against him.
With knowledge of all these basic rights, you should be able to fend off anyone who tries to get you convicted of a crime by using unscrupulous or even downright illegal means. A reputable Gallatin criminal attorney such as Kenneth J. Phillips – Attorney At Law can also help further protect you throughout your trial.
(Source: Rights of the Accused in Criminal Law, Yahoo! Voices)