The best criminal lawyer will work hard to defend you, and you can do your part by knowing your rights.
If you are facing criminal charges, you do not need to (and likely should not!) go it alone. The burden of facing criminal charges, whether for yourself or a loved one, can cloud your hope and clarity on the situation. While you may be very clear on your innocence, legal missteps and complicated trials can, unfortunately, lead you to convictions. If you are finding yourself in this situation, then find yourself the best criminal lawyer to help you. Murphy & Rudolf, LLP is here for you if you are in the Worcester, MA area. Contact us now for a free consultation: 508-762-1397.
Why the best criminal lawyer wants you to know your rights
In the absence of a defense lawyer, you are on your own to navigate a tricky situation with law enforcement. Knowing your rights is the best way to protect yourself if you are facing a criminal situation and do not yet have a lawyer present to support you.
Knowing your rights relates specifically to the Bill of Rights — that is, the first 10 articles of the United States Constitution. Specific to criminal law, the best criminal attorneys point to these four:
- The Fourth Amendment bars the government from unreasonable search and seizure of an individual or their private property.
- The Fifth Amendment provides several protections for people accused of crimes. It states that serious criminal charges must be started by a grand jury. A person cannot be tried twice for the same offense (double jeopardy) or have property taken away without just compensation. People have the right against self-incrimination and cannot be imprisoned without due process of law (fair procedures and trials.)
- The Sixth Amendment provides additional protections to people accused of crimes, such as the right to a speedy and public trial, trial by an impartial jury in criminal cases, and to be informed of criminal charges. Witnesses must face the accused, and the accused is allowed his or her own witnesses and to be represented by a lawyer.
- The Eighth Amendment bars excessive bail and fines and cruel and unusual punishment.
*Taken from The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
How criminal defense lawyers use these rights to defend you
The Fifth Amendment specifically is arguably the most important when you find yourself in a situation with law enforcement. The best criminal lawyer will often investigate these crucial interactions between the defendant and law enforcement as potential grounds for dismissal or for filing other helpful motions. Otherwise known as Miranda Rights, these must be stated and also upheld by law enforcement when apprehending you.
Your Miranda Rights include:
- The right to remain silent and not answer when being questioned
- Anything you do or say can be used against you by the prosecution
- The right to have an attorney present during current and future questioning
However, though crucial and important, these rights aren’t always complied with. That is where a defense attorney comes in — and what distinguishes a good lawyer from the best criminal lawyer.
That is, the best criminal attorneys know the in and outs of how these rights can both hurt and help you when facing criminal charges. First and foremost, knowing your rights protects you in the moment. Some practical ways to understand and apply your rights:
- Do not speak. Stay silent when law enforcement is questioning you
- Use clear language and firmly and clearly state that you “want a lawyer”
- Make sure to identify yourself correctly. Even if you fear you may face legal trouble, lying to law enforcement can only add charges against you and complicate your case
Most importantly, find a lawyer and protect yourself. Your rights are important and a devoted and experienced criminal defense lawyer can help make sure you are properly defended and represented in court.