All persons in the United States are entitled to specific rights detailed in the U.S. Constitution. Those rights do not cease to exist when you are charged with a crime and some rights were specifically written to protect the interests of people facing criminal prosecution.
1. Prohibition of Excessive Bail or Fines and Cruel and Unusual Punishment
The Eighth Amendment guarantees all persons charged with a crime the right to reasonable bail based on their flight risk. This right does not guarantee that bail must be set at a dollar amount that you can afford, just that it must be reasonable. If you can not afford your bail amount, a bail bonds Berks County PA service may be able to assist you. This amendment also prohibits the courts from imposing excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishments when a person is convicted of a crime.
2. Right to Due Process
The right to due process is one of the most fundamental concepts of U.S. criminal justice. This right guarantees that the government can not confine you, or take your life or property without the due process of law. It also forbids the court to try a person a second time after a not guilty verdict has been reached. Additionally, the Fifth Amendment gives you the right to refuse to be a witness against yourself.
3. Right to a Speedy and Public Trial
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a public trial, by an impartial jury from the State and district where the crime was allegedly committed. It also gives you the right to be told the nature and cause of the crime you are accused of and to confront any witnesses against you. This amendment also contains the right to be represented by an attorney and prevents opposing counsel from asking for extensions with the sole intent of keeping you in prison longer.
4. Right to a Trial by Jury
The Seventh Amendment preserves your right to a trial by jury, rather than a plea bargain or sentence decided solely by a judge, in all common law matters involving a value above $20. It also prevents the court from overriding the decision of the jury on any fact.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees that all persons, whether innocent or guilty, have rights when charged with a crime. A violation of these rights may result in civil penalties, mistrials, grounds for appeal and other remedies.