Your Constitutional Rights

by Pacific Legal GroupMay 31, 2022Uncategorized


Una versión en español se puede encontrar aquí.[1]

A person accused of a crime enjoys a number of basic constitutional rights. The most common of these, in the context of criminal matters, are set forth below.

  • Counsel:
    You have the right to be represented by an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed by the court at no cost to you. However, if a judge later determines that you were able to afford an attorney, you may be required to pay for the appointed lawyer’s service.
    Preliminary Hearing:
    For any case involving a Class A Misdemeanor or greater, you have a right to a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, the State carries the burden of proof to show the judge that there is probable cause that the crimes listed in the information were committed and that you committed them. During the preliminary hearing, you have the right to cross-examine the State’s witnesses, to testify, to call witnesses, and to present evidence if you so choose. The “probable cause” standard is a much lower bar than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard the State must prove at trial. However, if the State fails to meet this burden at the preliminary hearing, you are entitled to a dismissal of charges.
  • Jury Trial:
    You have a right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial (unbiased) jury. During that trial, you would have the right to: o   See and observe the witnesses the State brings to testify against you o   Cross-examine all of the witnesses the State has brought to trial o  Call your own witnesses to testify on your behalf o Testify on your own behalf. Importantly, if you choose not to testify, no one can make you testify or make you give evidence against yourself.
  • Presumption of Innocence and Burden of Proof:
    You are presumed innocent until the State proves that you are guilty of the crime or crimes for which you have been charged. The State has the burden of proving each element of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. If the trial is before a jury, the verdict must be unanimous, meaning that each juror would have to find you guilty.

To learn more contact a lawyer from Pacific Legal Group, today!




[1] Include a link to “Rights of the Accused – Spanish”






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