Being accused of any type of crime can be completely overwhelming and confusing, whether it is a federal drug crime or an allegation related to child pornography. A criminal defendant may not know that he or she still has certain rights after being arrested and charged with a crime. These rights are protected by the United States Constitution and other state and federal laws. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It is important to know about the rights every criminal defendant has and what to do if your rights have been violated.

The Right to Remain Silent

Even if you have never before been arrested, you are probably familiar with the “right to remain silent.” This right is listed along with many others during the Miranda Warning—which should have been read to you during or after your arrest. You have a right to stay silent when questioned by police so that you can avoid incriminating yourself. Many criminal defendants inadvertently give police and prosecutors evidence which is later used against them by talking too much in the moments after the arrest, so it is critical that you do not consent to police questioning until you have an attorney present. An experienced criminal defense attorney will help you avoid the tactics that police often use in an attempt to get you to admit to a crime.

The Right to Know the Criminal Accusations Against You

In television and movies, an individual is sometimes arrested and held in police custody without being informed as to why he or she is being detained. In reality, criminal defendants have a Constitutional right to know the crime or crimes he or she has been accused of committing. You also have the right to a speedy trial, the right to a trial by jury, the right to confront witnesses, the right to have witnesses testify on your account, and the right to receive legal counsel from a qualified lawyer.

The Right to Be Presumed Innocent Until Prosecutors Meet the Burden of Proof

Sometimes, when a defendant is accused of a crime, it can feel like he or she is responsible for proving that the accusations against him or her are false. However, this is not exactly correct. It is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove that the accusations against you are true. Generally, you have no responsibility under the law to prove anything. If you have been charged with a crime, you must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. If prosecutors cannot find enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, you must be acquitted.

Contact a Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges, contact a Chicago federal crimes defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel. With more than 30 years of criminal law experience, our team is equipped to help you build a responsible, aggressive defense. Call 312-270-09999 to schedule a free consultation today.


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