An Overview of Criminal Defense
In recent decades, the likelihood of an arrest leading to a conviction has generally risen. Some defendants think that they can "beat the system" on their own. Those who have been through the criminal court system know better: having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to prevent becoming another statistic and to avert the impact of a criminal conviction.
The criminal justice system can be a very frustrating experience that is difficult to navigate for those who are unfamiliar with the territory. One misplaced step can result in a lengthy jail sentence and a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. That's why it is so important to have the right criminal defense attorney fighting on your side, protecting your rights every step of the way.
Constitutional Protections for the Criminal Defendant
The United States Constitution and its subsequent amendments define the scope of governmental power and reserve certain individual rights to the people. The first 10 amendments, also called the Bill of Rights, contain basic, fundamental rights of individuals on which the government may not impinge. Many of these constitutional rights provide protection to criminal defendants in the criminal justice system. The Fourteenth Amendment extends substantive due process rights beyond just the federal system to criminal defendants in state courts, where the vast majority of criminal trials occur.
The basic constitutional rights of the criminal defendant permeate every aspect of the criminal justice process. If you have been accused of a crime, within either the state or federal jurisdiction, attorney Ann Fitz can explain these rights to you and help you to fight for them at every step of the way.
Here are the main federal constitutional rights guaranteed to criminal defendants in the United States to promote fair trials. Remember that these rights have been refined and interpreted by the courts and an attorney can advise you about their role in and application to your particular case.
- The right to due processof law
- The right to equal protectionunder the law
- The right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
- The right against self-incriminationor being forced to testify against oneself
- The right against double jeopardyor being tried more than once for the same offense
- The right to legal counsel
- The right to a speedy, public trial
- The right to an impartial jury trial
- The right to confront witnessesagainst you
- The right to call supporting witnesses
- The right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
- The prohibition against ex post facto lawsor laws that retroactively criminalize certain acts or increase criminal sanctions
- The right to be free from excessive fines or excessive bail
- The right to clear notice of criminal charges
- The right to a grand jury in federal felony proceedings
Our criminal justice system is designed through constitutional protections to provide a criminal defendant with a fair trial. If you face any phase of the process, consult an experienced attorney like Ann Fitz, Attorney at Law, P.C. in Los Angeles, California, as early as possible to enlist an important ally in your quest to protect your legal and constitutional rights.