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As a Criminal Defendant in New York, Do I Have Rights?

Even though Americans are innocent until proven guilty, being accused of a crime can have serious repercussions. As a criminal defendant, you will notice many of your freedoms are stripped. However, there are protections in place to protect those accused of illegal activities, regardless of the offense they are accused of committing. A Rockland County criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the criminal charges brought against you while protecting your rights. Keep reading to learn what protections you have as a defendant.

What Rights Does a Criminal Defendant Have?

Those accused of a crime are guaranteed certain protections under the United States Constitution. These rights are afforded to all, regardless of the offense they have allegedly committed. The most essential protections that you should familiarize yourself with include the following:

  • The right to remain silent: Under the Fifth Amendment, the right to remain silent is one of the most essential rights a criminal defendant has. As an accused individual, you do not have to speak with the police until you have received guidance from your attorney. This protects those accused of crimes from incriminating themselves when talking to law enforcement.
  • Protection from cruel and unusual punishment: The Eight Amendment protects those accused of a crime from enduring unfair, harsh, and degrading punishments. Regardless of the charges you are facing, law enforcement cannot torture or degrade you. This amendment also protects from excessive fines and bail.
  • Protection from unlawful search and seizure: Like the right to remain silent, protection from illegal searches and seizures of property is essential to protecting the rights of citizens. This right, guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment, prohibits law enforcement from searching your property without a warrant, consent, or probable cause. If none of these elements are present and the police remove evidence from your home or care, it is likely that this evidence will be dismissed as it was collected illegally.

You should also be familiar with the rights guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees a speedy trial, the right to an attorney, an impartial jury, and to know who accused you of the alleged crime.

What Can I Do if My Rights Are Violated?

If your rights as a criminal defendant are violated, it’s essential that you inform your attorney immediately. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you. However, it’s best to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you during your trial.

The Office of Kevin T. Conway is ready to help when you’re facing criminal charges. Our legal team will work tirelessly to represent you to fight for the best possible outcome for the circumstances you’re facing. Contact our office today to discuss the details of your case with a dedicated lawyer.

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