Your Constitutional Rights as a Criminal Defendant: What You Need to Know
You have numerous rights under the Federal and Missouri State Constitutions. It is important to have a basic understanding of these rights so you can exercise them if needed. It is always recommended that a person charged with or accused of the commission of a crime contact an attorney that practices in the area of criminal defense to protect all of his or her constitutional rights including, the following:
- The right under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to be free from any unreasonable search and seizure,
- The right under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remain silent,
- The right to a trial either before a judge or a jury,
- The right to summon witnesses and compel their attendance to testify on behalf of the defendant,
- The right to confront and cross-examine any witness the State may call,
- The right to a speedy trial,
- The right to be presumed innocent unless and until the State has proven each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt,
- The right to be represented by an attorney,
- The right to a Court appointed attorney if the defendant establishes they are unable to employ an attorney because of their indigence,
- The right to consult with an attorney, family members and friends before entering any pleas of guilty or not guilty before the Court.
*****************************Mr. Parker is the former prosecuting attorney of Dent County, Missouri and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Criminal Law Committee in the Missouri House of Representatives. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.