Your Rights in Court
If you are arrested or charged with a crime, even a traffic violation, you have certain constitutional rights. It is wise to exercise these rights even if you later decide to plead guilty to the charges.What are These Rights?
- You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to answer any questions asked by police officers and other officials about the event. Anything you say may be used against you.
- You have the right to have a lawyer represent you. If you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, you can ask the judge to appoint one for you.
- You have the right to a public and speedy trial, either to a jury or to a judge only.
- You are not required to prove your innocence; instead, you are presumed innocent of any crime unless the district attorney (city attorney in a municipal court) presents sufficient evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- You are entitled to testify in your own defense if you want to, but you cannot be forced to testify.
- You and your attorney may cross-examine any person who testifies against you.
- You are allowed to bring in witnesses, and the judge can order any person you want as a witness to appear in court.
If you are found guilty, you have the right to appeal. You also have the right to make a statement or present additional information to the judge at the time of sentencing.