What Are My Rights as a Criminal Defendant in Illinois?
Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a shocking and overwhelming experience. In some cases, a person can be falsely accused of an offense. It is important to know that individuals accused of a crime are protected by the United States Constitution as well as other statutes. It is critically important for anyone who is facing criminal charges to remember that he or she is entitled to certain rights as a criminal defendant, in addition to being innocent until proven guilty. When a defendant’s rights are violated, it can dramatically affect the outcome of any future criminal proceedings.
Your Right to Remain Silent
If you have ever watched a true crime television show or movie, you probably heard the phrase, “You have the right to remain silent.” This right is specifically stated in the Miranda Warning, a list of notifications typically given by police to a criminal suspect upon arrest. The right to remain silent is protected by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S Constitution. The Constitution states that a criminal defendant cannot be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” Put another way, you cannot be forced to incriminate yourself. If you are arrested and taken into police custody, calmly tell police officers that you are utilizing your right to remain silent and then say nothing. Do not consent to any police questioning or interrogations until you have a lawyer present. Choosing to remain silent will ensure that you do not say anything that can be used against you in any resulting criminal proceedings. It also helps ensure that you are not tricked into saying something you do not mean during a stressful interrogation.
Your Right to Legal Representation
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S Constitution also provides criminal defendants with certain rights and protections. Most notably, the Sixth Amendment protects the defendants’ right to have competent legal representation. Every criminal defendant has a right to have a lawyer present during police interrogation and any resulting criminal trial. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, you will be appointed a public defender. The Sixth Amendment allows defendants the right to confront and challenge witnesses or accusers. You will have the chance to counter any testimony given and to defend yourself against accusations.
Contact an Illinois Criminal Charges Defense Lawyer
Criminal offenses are taken seriously in the state of Illinois. Being convicted of a crime can result in heavy fines, incarceration, and years of negative personal and professional consequences. If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help ensure your rights are not violated. To discuss your case with a knowledgeable St. Charles criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. Call us today at 630-232-1780 to schedule your free, confidential initial consultation.