- What are my rights if I have been accused of a crime?
• The right to remain silent in order to avoid self-incrimination
• The right to competent legal representation, the right to reasonable bail,
• The right to a fair and public trial,
• The right to be informed of the charges against you,
• The right to be confronted with the witnesses against you and to gather witnesses of your own
A criminal defendant is also presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the criminal act in question. This also means a defendant does not have to do anything or say anything to prove they are innocent.
There are also specific laws regarding search and seizure which -in most cases- require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before they are allowed to search for evidence, contraband or other items.
- What should I do if I have been arrested?
- How do I get out of jail after an arrest?
In certain cases bail may be denied if the judge believes there is a high risk the defendant will flee, or if you have been charged with a serious crime like murder.
- Do I need a lawyer to represent me even if I am innocent?
Innocent defendants are perhaps in even greater need of representation throughout the criminal process to ensure that their rights are protected: you may not understand the full implications of the crime with which you are charged. Criminal defense attorneys equalize the balance of power between the defendant and the prosecution and ensure that your constitutional rights are preserved.
- How is being tried as a juvenile different than being tried as an adult?
- What is the difference between probation and parole?
Once an offender has actually been sentenced to prison and has served the minimum amount of time authorized, the parole board decides if the offender is ready to be released from incarceration to finish out the sentence on parole. If parole is granted, the offender will have to abide by terms and conditions similar to those for probation for a specified period of time. If he or she completes the parole period, the criminal sentence is discharged.
Both probation and parole can be revoked if the offender commits another crime or seriously violates one of the conditions of release. If a parole is revoked, the parolee goes back to prison and serves the remainder of his or her sentence in jail or prison.