Criminal proceedings: 10 fundamental rights of the accused

Just because someone is accused of a crime does not mean they negate their rights. Defendants must be aware of their rights throughout the process of being tried.

Many defendants hire lawyers to represent their legal needs and protect their rights.

10 fundamental rights of the accused

Every citizen has rights afforded to them under the law. Unfortunately, defendants often have their rights infringed upon by law enforcement. Knowing their rights will help defendants protect them. Defendants accused of crimes should consider contacting the Sydney Law Group.

1) Presumption of innocence

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Defendants cannot be presumed guilty until they have gone through the trial process and had a judge or jury of their peers convict them of the charges.

2) Self-incrimination

Defendants are free from being forced to incriminate themselves. When defendants state they want to remain silent, undue duress and pressure tactics are deemed illegal. Law enforcement officers must inform the accused of their right to remain silent so they do not incriminate themselves in a crime. Failure to do so on the part of the officers can result in the judge throwing out the charges.

3) Right to a fair hearing

Every defendant has the right to fair hearing. The defendant has the right to have their day in court and tell their side. Criminal cases cannot conclude until the defendant gets the opportunity to speak. If the defendant chooses to remain silent in the trial, their defense lawyer can speak on their behalf.

4) Swift justice

The law states that justice delayed is justice denied. Dealing with criminal charges and the stress that comes with them can be challenging for defendants. Every defendant has a right to swift justice so they can go back to their life as quickly as possible.

5) Legal counsel

While defendants can represent themselves in court, this is not advised. Seeking legal counsel is essential for criminal defendants. If they cannot afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one.

6) Equal fighting opportunities

Procedural rules accompany criminal charges to ensure a level playing ground in the trial. The accused cannot be convicted of charges they have never been addressed with. Defendants cannot be found guilty using evidence they have not been allowed to examine.

7) Privacy

While many trials occur live on television, criminal defendants have the right to privacy. Judges may rule media devices kept outside of the courtroom to prevent the trial from becoming a public spectacle.

8) Disproportionate use of capabilities

The state cannot pursue a defendant unlawfully, such as by planting video devices in their homes to gather evidence. States cannot use disproportionate capabilities to catch criminals.

9) Non-discrimination

The court must show impartiality and cannot discriminate against the defendant. The court cannot engage in any form of discrimination based on age, ethnicity, caste, religion, nationality, gender, or sexual orientation.

10) Dignity

The accused also has the right to dignity and respect. Torture, abuse, and cruelty are not allowed in the interrogation process. Failure to follow these laws can result in law enforcement being charged.

Seek a lawyer to protect your rights

Regardless of the charges, criminal defendants have rights afforded to them under the law. Defendants must be aware of their rights and do everything possible to protect them. Hiring a lawyer is a critical first step in protecting your rights.