“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
I consider educating my clients on their legal rights to be one of my foremost duties as an attorney. It is impossible to expect a criminal defendant to make educated, intelligent decisions about how to handle a case unless he is familiar with the rights that are protected by federal and state law. These rights include, but are not limited to, the following:
THE RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED BY AN ATTORNEY OF YOUR CHOOSING: without this right, the accused’s meaningless. Your attorney is the only person standing between you and the government’s team of prosecutors who may be looking to imprison you for an extended period of time.
THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT: as a criminal defendant, you are never under any obligation to speak with law enforcement and you should never speak with them without an attorney present. Additionally, the government cannot compel you to be a witness against yourself. You are under no obligation to testify at the trial of your case unless you choose to do so.
THE RIGHT TO TESTIFY: the government cannot force you to testify as a criminal defendant, nor can it prevent you from testifying in your own defense. You always have an opportunity to address the judge or jury and present your side of the story.
THE RIGHT TO PRESENT EVIDENCE AT TRIAL: the government is in the business of collecting evidence to secure convictions. However, you also have the right to investigate your case, collect evidence and present it to the jury in in your own defense. As an experienced litigator, I will thoroughly investigate your case and collect and present all available evidence that tends to prove your innocence.
THE RIGHT TO CROSS-EXAMINE THE STATE’S WITNESSES: in every criminal trial, the government must present at least one witness to attempt to gain a conviction. As your attorney, I will have the opportunity to cross examine the government’s witnesses and demonstrate for the jury inconsistencies in their testimony, possible bias, previous convictions, and any other admissible evidence that tends to show that the witness is not worthy of belief..
BURDEN OF PROOF/PROOF BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT: at a criminal trial, the government carries the burden of proving every element of the crime you are charged with beyond a reasonable doubt. What this means is that you are under no obligation to prove yourself innocent: the government must prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government fails to carry this burden, then the jury must acquit you.