What are a Defendant's Rights?

  • The Criminal Justice System
  • Arraignment & Pretrial Motions
  • How to Release an Inmate from Jail
  • Types of Bail
  • Defendant's Rights
  • Right to a Criminal Defense Attorney
    Defendants have the right to a criminal defense attorney throughout criminal proceedings. In felony and serious misdemeanor cases, the court will appoint an attorney for the defendant at no charge if they cannot afford to hire one. However, if you can afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, the court will not appoint one or, if they do, you may be required to pay all or part of their fees.  

    Right to a Jury Trial
    On felony, DUI, and serious misdemeanor cases, defendants have a right to a speedy, public jury trial. On other misdemeanor cases, you have a right to a trial with a judge. At the trial, the defendant is presumed innocent, and cannot be convicted unless the impartial jurors are convinced of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Right to Confront Witnesses
    Defendants have a right to confront and cross-examine all witnesses testifying against them. This means the witnesses show up in court and testify. If witnesses fail to appear, the state might dismiss your case if requested by your criminal defense attorney. 

    Right Against Self-Incrimination
    You have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. You also have the right to testify on your own behalf. If you choose not to testify the court and jury cannot hold this against you.

    Right to Produce Evidence
    The defendant has the right to present evidence and to have the court issue a subpoena to bring into court all witnesses and evidence favorable to them, at no cost to them.