You get arrested and you're facing some serious charges. It's going to go to trial, where a jury will decide your fate.
It is very important to understand all of your legal rights at a time like this when the outcome of the case could drastically alter the course of your life. To help you get started, here are six rights you have:
- The right to confront those who have accused you of a crime.
- The right to remain silent.
- The right not to be forced to testify in a way that incriminates yourself.
- The right to legal counsel so that you don't have to go through the case on your own.
- The right to have your trial carried out in front of a jury, rather than just allowing a judge to decide what should happen.
- The right to a jury that fairly reflects the community. For instance, you should not have jurors that are all the same race (in most cases) or the same gender.
One key thing to note here is that this is not an exhaustive list of all of your rights. It's just a place to begin. Make sure you really do understand all of your rights based on your specific case.
That said, these examples give you an idea of how the court experience is supposed to be fair and just. It is intended to give you the same rights and opportunities given to anyone in the same situation, regardless of their wealth, gender, race, social position or anything else.
As you move forward through the case, it's important to understand the process and how to proceed.