The Right to a Fair Trial

Some defendants make the mistake of thinking that they can handle the case on their own. However, the criminal justice system is complex and difficult for individuals to navigate if they are unfamiliar with it. A simple mistake such as missing a deadline can ultimately result in a conviction that has tragic consequences. This makes it incredibly important to hire a criminal defense lawyer who is prepared to fight for the defendant’s rights.

Constitutional Protections

The United States Constitution describe the rights that every citizen is entitled to. This important document and its subsequent amendments explain how the government operates. The Constitution describes the fundamental rights that people have, such as the freedom of speech, religion and the press. The Fourteenth Amendment is important because it basically extends the same federal rights to individuals who are tried in state courts. This is vital since most criminal trials occur in such courts.

Fundamental Rights

The United States Constitution provides for basic fundamental rights. Many of these laws are implicated in the criminal justice system. This includes laws that pertain to the filing of criminal charges. A person has the right to a grand jury in federal felony proceedings. Additionally, he or she has the right to clear notice of criminal charges against him or her. The United States Constitution also prohibits the passing of retroactive laws that criminalize certain behaviors after the fact. Likewise, a criminal defendant cannot be tried more than once for the same offense. If a person is under investigation, he or she has the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures as provided by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

These fundamental rights also affect the punishment that a person can be subjected to during the proceedings and after. This includes the right to be free from excessive bail. Additionally, a person has the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment as stipulated in the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Many fundamental rights apply to the defendant’s right to a fair trial. These rights include:

The Right to Due Process of Law

The right to due process of law prohibits the federal government from arbitrarily affecting a person’s rights without some type of formal procedure. Due process means that the government must respect the legal rights that the defendant is owed.

Freedom from Self-Incrimination

The Fifth Amendment provides that a person cannot be made to testify against himself or herself. This applies to judicial proceedings, such as not having to testify in open court as well as to investigative questioning in which the criminal defendant can refuse to answer a police officer’s questions.