You Have Rights…Yes, Even If You Are Accused Of A Crime

May 27, 2023 | Criminal

If you’ve recently been arrested and accused of a crime, you’re probably feeling a fair amount of anxiety and fear over what this may mean for your future. The thought of enduring a long investigation or trial may leave you feeling like a target with no one on your side. You may even begin to think there is no hope of ever moving on with your life. However, one of the great things about America is that even when you’re accused of a crime or being investigated, you have rights! The U.S. Constitution protects those rights from being violated. If they are, your whole case may be dismissed. Therefore, it’s important to be informed of the rights you have so that you and your criminal defense attorney can build the strongest case and get the best results.

The 5th Amendment: Your Right To Remain Silent, Protection Against Double Jeopardy, And Your Right To Due Process

When you were arrested, the law enforcement officer should have stated the Miranda Warning to you. Included in this is your right to remain silent. This is derived from the 5th Amendment, which protects you from incriminating yourself. If you’ve already answered questions from law enforcement, you still have the right to refuse questioning at any time, or “plead the fifth.” It is imperative to consult with a criminal defense attorney before resuming conversation with law enforcement. Your lawyer will advise you to either continue invoking your 5th Amendment right, or only speak to police with legal counsel present. 

Your 5th Amendment right also protects you from being charged and tried for the same crime twice – otherwise known as “double jeopardy” – and ensures your rights to due process. This means that the government must follow the established legal procedures and treat you fairly throughout your investigation and trial. Your criminal defense attorney will be involved in every step of the case, and will protect you from unfair treatment at all times.

The 6th Amendment: Your Right To Counsel, Speedy Trial, And To Compel And Confront Witnesses

Hopefully, you have or will soon secure legal representation, which is a right secured to you by the 6th Amendment of the Constitution. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney is crucial to giving you the best chance at achieving a successful outcome. They also ensure that none of your rights are violated in the investigation or trial stages of criminal proceedings. They will meet with you frequently to have open and candid discussions in which you must provide them with the most accurate information you can. Your attorney is sworn to confidentiality due to attorney-client privilege, and may not divulge any information without your permission. 

In addition, the 6th Amendment ensures a speedy trial where you also have the right to confront the witnesses who are testifying against you. Your trial must occur in a reasonable amount of time. If you or your attorney believe otherwise, your attorney will investigate the possible reasons for the delay by reviewing court records or communicating with the prosecution. If the delay has caused damage to your defense case – such as loss of witnesses or loss of evidence – then they may file a motion to dismiss your case on these grounds. 

At the trial, you will also face the witnesses who are there to testify against you. This is where your criminal defense attorney will cross-examine those witnesses – in other words, try to find holes or weaknesses in their testimony. If the witnesses seem unreliable or uncredible to the jury, you will have a better chance at a not guilty verdict. An experienced criminal defense attorney should have a record of success in determining the best way to beat the prosecution’s case, which is why you should be aware of your attorney’s past experience. 

The 8th Amendment: Protection From Excessive Bail And Cruel And Unusual Punishment

As you are probably already aware, bail is the monetary amount set by the court to secure your release from custody before trial. The 8th Amendment ensures that your bail amount is not unreasonably high and that it matches the average amount that is usually assigned to the same charges. If your attorney believes that the bail amount was excessive, there are several actions they can take to address the issue, such as:

  1. Filing a motion for bail reduction which details why the bail is excessive, such as your financial status, community ties, prior criminal record (if it exists), and the nature of the offense. 
  2. Presenting evidence and arguments such as financial documents, character references, or employment records during the bail hearing which supports the motion for a reduction in bail and ensures that you are not a flight risk.
  3. Exploring alternative pretrial release programs such as regular check-ins or mandatory counseling, if they are available.

In addition, the 8th Amendment protects you from excessively harsh, brutal, or inhuman punishments while undergoing arrest, investigation, or being held in police custody. This includes all forms of physical or mental torture which intentionally inflict pain beyond what is necessary for legitimate penal purposes. If you or your criminal defense attorney believe that you have been treated in such a way, then your attorney will document it and investigate by obtaining medical records, collecting witness statements, or reviewing available video or photographic evidence. You can then pursue legal action such as a civil suit to hold the responsible parties accountable and bring an end to the harsh treatment.

Alatorre Law Fights To Protect Your Rights!

At Alatorre Law, our priority is ensuring your rights are preserved through the legal process and building a defense that yields the best possible outcome. With over 17 years of experience, our lead attorney Javier Alatorre has handled countless criminal charges and is well-practiced in the actions to take if your rights are violated in one of these areas. Call today to schedule a free consultation and get honest advice about your current situation and how you can move forward!

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