It’s natural to feel helpless after an arrest; after all, you were suspected of breaking the law. Keep in mind, nevertheless, that as a criminal defendant in New Jersey, you do have rights. Learning about these protections will help you stay on the right side of the law during your criminal prosecution. For this reason, we have compiled a summary of the most fundamental constitutional protections afforded to a criminal defendant. 

Consider consulting with a criminal defense lawyer to protect those rights.

Right to an Attorney

A defendant’s right to an attorney is one of their most important rights. If you cannot pay for legal representation, the court will provide one for you. It’s important to work with a legal representative who has experience handling cases similar to yours. They can provide you with valuable advice and representation throughout your case.

Constitutional Protections Under the Fifth Amendment

Most people automatically think of the Fifth Amendment when they consider the rights of criminal defendants. That’s our constitutional right, to say nothing. This is the first line of the Miranda rights, a list of protections read aloud to a suspect by an arresting officer before interrogation. Keep in mind that unless you have legal counsel, it is in your best interest to say nothing. “Everything you say can be used against you in court,” so be cautious when you speak.

Constitutional Protections Under the Sixth Amendment

Certain rights are guaranteed to defendants in New Jersey criminal cases by the Sixth Amendment. This amendment guarantees several fundamental rights, including access to counsel, a speedy and open trial, a publicly selected jury, and the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.

In a criminal matter, you are entitled to have legal counsel. The court will appoint an attorney on your behalf if you cannot afford one. An attorney who acts in the public’s best interest is called a public defender. While facing criminal charges, it is always best to be represented by a skilled attorney. 

An accused individual has the right to a speedy trial that does not unduly delay other aspects of the legal process, as guaranteed by the Constitution. Country-specific laws govern case processing times. If you believe there have been improper procedures that led to delays, you can petition the court.

Everyone in the legal system is entitled to a trial in front of a jury of their peers. In spite of the fact that not every criminal case ends up in court, you have the right to have one heard by a jury in your case.


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