What are my rights as a criminal suspect or a person accused of a crime?
You are granted certain rights under both the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions. Assert and protect your right by contacting Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers Compton Law Firm. Compton Law Criminal Defense attorneys can help you assert and protect your rights.
The Constitutions of the United States and Oklahoma each guarantee our citizens certain basic rights, including the right to an attorney, the right to remain silent, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures In matters of criminal law and investigation, you must know your rights. The basics are:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to legal counsel
- The right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
- The right to subpoena witnesses
- The right to a speedy trial, free from unreasonable delays
- The right to a jury trial
- The right to due process of law
- The right to be free from double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same crime)
- The right to an appeal
Even before you are placed under arrest, the Constitution of the United States guarantees you certain rights. The following are an expanded explanation of some of the more basic rights, but it is not a complete list. You have many other constitutional rights.
Right to Remain Silent:
“I do want to cooperate, but only after I have retained an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer”
When the police ask to speak to you, you have the right to remain silent. You must know that anything and everything you say to the police will be used against you. You may talk to the police about the crime they arrested you for, but you are not required. If you do start talking to the police, you may stop talking at any time during the interview or interrogation and ask for a lawyer. Best practice is to say “I do want to cooperate but only after I have retained an Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer.” At that point the law enforcement officer must ask no more questions. You have the right to ask to have an attorney when the police want to question you. If you ask for any attorney the police cannot ask you any questions until you have spoken with an attorney. If you cannot afford to pay for an attorney, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent you if the court believes you do not have enough money to hire one.
You are not required to talk to the police when questioned about a crime. Exercise your rights – NEVER EVER NEVER give a statement without legal representation. Anything you say likely will be tape recorded or videotaped with or without your knowledge.
Right to be Represented by a Lawyer:
Right to a Lawyer: The Sixth Amendment gives you the right to have counsel before giving any statements or submitting to questioning. OUR TOP TIP AND PIECE OF ADVICE IS: Retain an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Attorney BEFORE you make any statements to the police. This is your most significant constitutional right. Contact us now.
You have the right to have a lawyer. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you can submit the appropriate application, called “Pauper’s Affidavit,” which asks the judge to appoint a lawyer to represent you. One good reason to be represented by a lawyer is to make sure your rights have not been violated. Another reason is to ensure that you get all the evidence you need to defend yourself. Many times a lawyer knows the kind of evidence that is best suited for a good defense. Never represent yourself in Court – The best criminal defense attorneys don’t even represent themselves.
Right to Confront the Witnesses Against You:
You have the right for your lawyer to ask questions of every witness against you if you go to trial.
Right Not to be Stopped and Searched Without a Good Cause:
Law enforcement officers must have a good reason (probable cause) before they arrest you or search you or your property. In some cases the officer must first get a judge to issue a search warrant. In other cases, such as routine traffic stops for traffic violations, there must be some good reason why officers suspect you may be committing a crime before they may search without a warrant. If the police do not have an arrest or search warrant and ask to search you or your property, you have the right to refuse. You can easily say I do not consent to any search and you may lawfully refuse their request to search. If the police stop you and ask you to identify yourself or show ID, you must comply. However, after you have told the police your name you have the right to tell the officer you do not want to answer any other questions or speak with them until you have spoken with an attorney
Right to be Free From Unreasonable Searches or Seizures:
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless an officer presents proper credentials and a search warrant, do not allow any search of your body, home, garage, business, computer, car, boat or other dwelling or property.
If the police present with a valid search warrant you must comply but never consent. If there is a warrant, ask to read it. Then ask the officers if you may watch as the police search and ask to call your lawyer before the search. It is not uncommon for someone ( your spouse, children, friend, acquaintance, or stranger) to have placed or left contraband or other evidence of a crime in or on your property WITHOUT YOU KNOWING. This happens all the time!! So NEVER allow a search without a warrant. If asked whether it will be okay to search, say “no, I do not consent” and call your lawyer.
Right to Bail:
Generally, you have the right to a reasonable bail if arrested. The primary issues should be whether you are a risk of flight or a danger to the community. In Oklahoma County, there is a standard bail or bond schedule which is generally applied, but bond is occasionally denied. You do need to know that if you post bail you will be entitled to a state-paid criminal defense attorney and you would be required to hire a private one.
Right to Subpoena:
If you choose to demand a trial, you have the right to compulsory process or to subpoena witnesses, regardless of whether the witness agrees to cooperate. If you serve the witnesses with process, they must attend hearings and give testimony (thus the right of confronting your accusers). You have only a limited right to subpoena witnesses or documents at a preliminary hearing.
Right to a Speedy and Public Trial:
The Sixth Amendment guarantees a “speedy trial” without unreasonable delays. This does not mean that you receive an immediate trial, but factors are analyzed to determine whether the delay is reasonable and whether there is any prejudice caused by an unreasonable delay. Also, your trial must be open to the public (except in certain juvenile settings). It is not uncommon to waive your right to a speedy trial.
Right to a Trial by Jury:
You are entitled to a jury trial, unless both you and the government agree to a trial before the judge. If you demand a trial, a jury of six or twelve qualified persons must be empanelled to hear your case depending on whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor.
Right to a Unanimous Verdict: To be convicted, the jury must unanimously find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In most felony cases, twelve people must agree that you are guilty of the crime charged; otherwise, you cannot be found guilty. If the jury reaches an impasse, the jury may be hung or split. Under these circumstances, you can be tried again.
Right to be Free from Subsequent Trials (Double Jeopardy): The Fifth Amendment states that no person be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. If the jury unanimously agrees that you are not guilty, then you cannot be tried again for that crime.
Right to Appeal: Generally, you have an appeal of right if you are convicted at trial. If you enter into a plea bargain or if you simply plead guilty, you may waive certain rights to appeal. You have the right to counsel on appeal and if you cannot afford an attorney, one is generally appointed for your first appeal. You generally do not have the right to counsel for second or subsequent appeals.
Right to Due Process: Generally speaking, this means that you must be given the opportunity of a fair trial or to fair procedures and that certain rights or privileges or property cannot be taken from you except under special circumstances.
Right to Equal Protection: This right is intended to give all persons, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion or gender, the same protections or rights. In other words, no person or class of people shall be denied the protections enjoyed by others or classes in like circumstances.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
The Bill of Rights is the First Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution, and are as follows:
Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV: 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.
Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment VI: 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, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Amendment VII: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Amendment VIII: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.