Criminal Defense Legal Rights

 

The United States Constitution provides protections through the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to people accused of committing crimes. The Fourth Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fifth Amendment states in part, “No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” The Fifth Amendment protects the accused from coerced self-incrimination. Self-incrimination is defined as, “Acts or declarations either at trial or prior to trial which one implicates himself in a crime.” A defendant does not have to testify at trial. The prosecutor cannot instruct the jury to infer guilt from the defendant’s refusal to testify. Additionally, law enforcement must read the defendant his or her Miranda rights prior to a custodial interrogation. The defendant must be warned, “He has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney, either retained or appointed.  Statements obtained by law enforcement from a defendant due to a custodial interrogation, are inadmissible in court without a knowing, voluntary and intelligent waiver from the defendant.

The Sixth Amendment states in part, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed. Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191 states, “Every person charged with a misdemeanor shall be brought to trial within 90 days of the arrest, unless the defendant waives his or her right to a speedy trial. Every defendant charged with a felony must be brought to trial within 175 days of arrest, unless he or she waives their speedy trial rights.