When arrested on suspicion of a crime, you will immediately notice many of your freedoms are stripped away. However, this does not mean law enforcement officers have no boundaries. As a criminal defendant in the United States, you are protected by several laws. If accused of a crime, it is imperative that you understand what rights you are afforded to defend yourself. Keep reading to learn more about your rights and discover how a Maryland criminal defense lawyer can help you.
What Rights Does a Criminal Defendant Have?
Under the United States Constitution, criminal defendants have several protections. The most essential include:
- The right to remain silent: Under the Fifth Amendment, anyone accused of a crime may refrain from speaking with police until they have legal representation. This is because the Constitution protects from self-incrimination, allowing those to remain silent.
- Protection from cruel and unusual punishment: The Eighth Amendment protects those accused of crimes from enduring unnecessarily harsh penalties, like torture or degradation, regardless of the offense they have allegedly committed. This same Amendment also protects from excessive fines and bail.
- Outlawing unlawful search and seizure: As a citizen, the police cannot search your property or take your possessions without a warrant, probable cause, or consent, as detailed in the Fourth Amendment. If your property is unlawfully searched and evidence is seized, it may be deemed inadmissible in court since it was collected under illegal pretenses.
You should also become familiar with the Sixth Amendment, which houses four crucial rights. These include the right to legal representation, an impartial jury, a timely trial, and knowing who your accusers are.
What Can I Do if My Rights Are Violated?
When arrested for allegedly committing a crime, it is essential to remain silent. Unfortunately, many will try to prove their innocence. However, as anything you say can and will be held against you, this does more harm than good. Instead, remain silent and request an attorney.
Similarly, if your rights are violated while awaiting trial, you must inform your attorney as soon as possible. They will be able to offer additional protection.
The law states that those who cannot afford an attorney will be provided with one. However, you should retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer if possible.
When you need legal help, the Law Office of Debra A. Saltz is here to help. Our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to help you receive the justice you deserve when your rights are violated and achieve the best possible outcome for your circumstances as a criminal defendant. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.