Phoenix Legal Rights Guide - Your Best Defense
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jan 29, 2010 in Criminal Law
If you are facing the prospect of being prosecuted for a crime, you're obviously dealing with one of the most intense struggles of your lifetime. The government is a strong adversary, and when the process of building a case against you begins, it will not stop until the matter is complete one way or the other. The natural reaction to the realization that you face this struggle is to experience fear, stress and uncertainty. However, with the help of an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney, you'll soon realize that you have several legal rights at your disposal that cannot be taken away by the police or prosecutors. Below are just a few examples of these rights.
The Right to Remain Silent
If you are being questioned in relation to a crime that's been committed, you have no requirement to answer the questions being asked to you by the police or the prosecutor. This does not mean that they will not still attempt to obtain a statement from you, as most will. However, not only do you have the right to remain silent, but the fact that you decided to enforce this right cannot be held against you. However, anything you do say can be used in furtherance of your prosecution.
The Right to an Attorney
The Constitution also guarantees you the right to have an attorney present during questioning or during any other process involved with prosecuting the case. This right is not only advisable, but could be critical in regards to the ultimate result of the matter at hand. An experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer will not only be able to help guide you through this stressful process, but he or she will also make sure that none of your legal rights are violated in the course of the investigation.
The Right to Avoid Self-Incrimination
When someone decides to 'plead the 5th,' that means that he or she is seeking protection that's available under the 5th Amendment to the Constitution that states that no one should be compelled to provide evidence or statements that would make that person subject to a criminal prosecution. This is an important right, and much like the others discussed here, invoking this right cannot be used against you by the prosecution.
The Right to a Trial
There are many instances in which the police will either intimate or directly state that a suspect in a criminal investigation would be 'helping' his or her cause by avoiding a trial that could carry much stiffer penalties upon a conviction. However, the notion of a public trial in a criminal case is one of the very foundations of our criminal justice system, and no one can ever be denied the right to proceed to one if that's what's best for his or her situation.
The Right to Confront Witnesses
As part of the right to a trial is the right to confront witnesses that appear to testify against the defendant. This is grounded in the concept of fairness, as no one should be allowed to simply present damaging testimony against a defendant without being challenged by the defense. This situation is where working with an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney is critical, as he or she will be able to cross-examine every witness with precision in an attempt to find the truth of what's being asserted.
Overall, there are several rights available to someone who's being investigated for a crime. The system of justice dictates that these rights should be afforded to every defendant in order to minimize the chance that an innocent person will be wrongfully convicted. If you face this situation, the worst thing you can do is hesitate. Contact the Phoenix criminal defense lawyers at Montano Arentz & Associates, PLLC today to schedule an initial consultation.