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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Charged With A Crime? Know Your Rights

by Andrew Martin

Being charged with a crime is a very serious and stressful situation for anyone. If this ever happens to you, it's vital that you are aware of your legal rights as a criminal defendant. Knowing your rights could help you win your case. Here are some of the key legal rights to keep in mind.


The fourth amendment gives you the right to remain silent when you are arrested for a crime. You are not legally required to talk to the police or answer any of their questions. If you are put on trial for a crime, you do not have to testify if you do not wish to. A key exception to not having to testify at a trial does exist, however. If the prosecution grants you immunity for your crime and wants you to testify against others, then legally you must give testimony.


The courts have ruled that every defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney, regardless of their ability to pay. So, if you cannot afford to pay a lawyer, then the court must appoint an attorney to take your case. The government will compensate the attorney for their efforts on your behalf. Although you are entitled to a lawyer, you are not required to use one. You may represent yourself if you wish.


The eighth amendment of the United States Constitution gives criminal defendants the right to avoid pre-trial detention by paying a reasonable bail. Excessive bail is strictly forbidden by the amendment. Certain exceptions to the right to bail have been upheld by the courts over the years. For example, if you are charged with a very serious crime, such as murder, bail can be denied. Also, if the judge believes that you are a flight risk, the court may deny bail in this instance as well. Another possible exception occurs when the judge believes you are likely to commit another crime if you are released on bail.

Speedy Trial

Every criminal defendant has the right to a speedy trial, according to the sixth amendment of the Constitution. The exact definition of "speedy" can vary from state to state. In many instances, the government has 60 to 120 days after you are charged to bring the case to trial.

Knowing your rights as a criminal defendant is helpful when you are charged with a crime, but even more important is obtaining the services of a qualified criminal attorney. Once you find an experienced defense law office like The Fitzpatrick Law Firm, follow their advice closely.