Being arrested and charged with a crime can have far-reaching consequences on your life. Apart from the potential jail term or fine, you may have problems getting a job in future, particularly if you’re charged with a felony.
Nonetheless, people charged with crimes have a right to a free and fair trial, as well as not having their dignity or privacy infringed. If your constitutional rights were violated at one point, here are the steps to take:
Be Informed and Know Your Rights
First things first, it’s important to know which rights you’re entitled to as an accused person – which you can read on the internet, or ask your attorney to outline for you. If you witness, or suspect that the police, or any other party have violated your rights by denying you legal counsel or seizing your possessions illegally, take time to understand the circumstances. You want to make sure that your rights were indeed infringed upon before filing a complaint or bringing it to the court’s attention.
Consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
The very first thing you need to do when you’re faced with a criminal case is to involve a criminal defense attorney. It may seem expensive at first, but if you want to get out of the case with a clean criminal record, it’s undoubtedly an expense worth incurring.
The role of an attorney is to legally represent you and ensure that your rights are upheld before and during the judicial process. Inform your lawyer whenever you feel like your rights have been disrespected, and they will advise you on the best way forward. For instance, if the prosecution obtained their evidence against you without following due process, your attorney will help you convince the court to throw out the evidence. They will also help you argue before the court why a certain witness should not be allowed to testify or even ask the court to dismiss the charges altogether.
An experienced criminal defense attorney knows all the laws surrounding criminal justice and will be able to tell if your rights have been violated. If indeed they have, the attorney will know how to capitalize on that to get an acquittal. Sometimes, you may even get acquitted even if you were guilty, if you’re able to show the court that the state stepped on your rights. Of course, you may not be able to do that yourself if you’re not well versed in legal verbiage and procedures.