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Your Legal Rights

You may think once you have been arrested for a crime that your rights as an American citizen
are taken away. I assure you that's not the truth. America was built on the premise of valuing
the preservation of it's citizens individual rights. That means all citizens. Civil rights can't be
protected unless those suspected of committing crimes receive due process of law. What this
essentially means is that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. This makes the
judicial process fair and just. The Constitution's Bill of Rights outlines those rights given to
every American whether born here or naturalized. If you are accused of a crime, below are the
rights you need to know. These rights will help you understand and deal with your case.

Protection from self-incrimination. You have the right to remain silent. Remember, anything
you say can be used against you in court. Be careful what you say since it can have a profound
effect on the outcome of your trial. Before you speak to anyone about your case it is wise to
consult with your attorney.

Adequate legal representation. You have the right to legal counsel. If you can't afford an attorney, the court must provide one for you at no charge.

Right to know the charges. You must have the chance to confront the witness(es) testifying against you and the right to gather your own evidence and any witness(es).

Those charged with serious crimes. Serious crimes are to be indicted by a grand jury to ensure a fair and just trial.

An individual cannot be tried for the same crime twice. Once you have been found innocent of a crime, you can not be tried again even if new evidence comes forward that proves you might be guilty,

Public and speedy trial by jury if desired.

The right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure. Law enforcement must obtain a search warrant before searching private property for people or evidence. A search warrant must be issued by a judge and must be based on evidence gathered legally. Any evidence found in a search can be admitted into court against you. That's why it's imperative any evidence taken into account be handled within the guidelines of the law.

Below are some links to help you research legal advice for the accused and victims of crimes.

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