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Accused of a Crime: Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Guilty man in court room

The US Constitution gives every citizen the right to be defended in a court of law. Even if the defendant does not have the financial means to pay for a lawyer, the court can appoint one. If you are accused of a serious crime, it is important to understand your rights as an American citizen. When determining if you need to hire a criminal defense lawyer, be sure to keep the following in mind.</p

What is a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

A criminal defense lawyer specializes in the defense of people and organizations that have been charged with various types of criminal activity. These lawyers can be privately retained, or they may be public defenders employed by specific jurisdictions. Some criminal defense attorneys are known to specialize in certain crimes. Criminal defense lawyers are equipped to represent people who have been accused of either felony or misdemeanor charges. These attorneys’ extensive knowledge of the law can help defendants receive shorter sentences for felony accusations. For certain minor misdemeanors, a defense lawyer may even be able to get the crime dismissed completely.

Know Your Rights When Accused of a Crime

All the rights outlined in the US Constitution are guaranteed to any defendant via the Fourteenth Amendment. Some of the most important sections that pertain to those accused of a crime include the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments.

When it comes to possible criminal activity, the Fifth Amendment guarantees that the accused will have the right to a grand jury while also being protected against double jeopardy, ensuring that the person cannot be accused twice for the same crime. This amendment also requires due process of the law.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a public trial without unnecessary delay, the right to a lawyer and the right to an impartial jury. This amendment also provides a defendant with the right to know who his or her accusers are and what evidence they may have for the case.

Lastly, the Eighth Amendment protects defendants from excessive bail or fines and/or cruel and unusual punishments.

You should never take chances when it comes to your personal record and livelihood, as a criminal conviction can be life-changing in all the wrong ways. Understanding the role of a criminal defense professional and knowing your rights as guaranteed to you by the US Constitution can help you to protect yourself.

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