What are your rights if you face trial in a criminal case?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Every year in Mississippi thousands of people are arrested and charged with criminal offenses. However, it is important to remember that an arrest is not the same as a conviction. Prosecutors must prove every element of the crime a defendant is charged with in order to secure a conviction. In many cases, that is a tall order. Sometimes, the evidence simply isn’t there, or it isn’t convincing enough. If that seems to be the situation in your case, it may be best to push the case all the way to a trial.

Know your rights

So, what are your rights in a criminal trial? It is easy to forget that every criminal defendant has constitutional rights that must be protected throughout the entire case. Well, for starters, every defendant has the right to be represented by legal counsel. This is important because criminal defense attorneys know the ins and out of the courthouse, they know the court staff and, in all likelihood, the probably also know the prosecutor. This is the type of knowledge that can help a criminal defendant to present a sound defense strategy.

Another important right is the right against “self-incrimination.” In short, this means that a defendant cannot be compelled to testify against himself – he can remain silent, keeping the burden on the prosecution to prove guilt, instead of the defendant being required to prove innocence.

Lastly, another right that can be crucial is the right to a jury trial in front of one’s peers. This means the prosecution would be required to present the case to a group of community members – the jury – in order to attempt to convince them of the defendant’s guilt. At the same time, the defendant’s attorney gets to try to convince the jury that the prosecution’s evidence simply isn’t enough to find the defendant guilty.