man in handcuffs

What Rights Do I Have as a Criminal Defendant in Illinois?

Being charged with a crime can be an incredibly overwhelming experience for many, as dealing with law enforcement can be intimidating. If you are taken into custody and charged with a crime, you may feel helpless. Luckily, as a criminal defendant, you have many rights in place to protect you when interacting with law enforcement. The following blog explores the rights you should know about and how a Peoria County criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the charges against you.

What Rights Are Afforded to a Criminal Defendant?

The United States Constitution has many essential Amendments to protect those accused of criminal activity. As such, familiarizing yourself with these rights can help you should you be charged with a crime.

Often regarded as one of the most significant rights, anyone under arrest has the right to remain silent. This Fifth Amendment protection prevents those charged with a crime from incriminating themselves. As such, if placed under arrest, you must invoke your right to remain silent. You must refrain from speaking to the police until you’ve spoken with an attorney.

Similarly, the Sixth Amendment grants the right to an attorney to anyone charged with a crime. Though an attorney, known as a public defender, will be appointed to your case if you cannot afford to hire your own lawyer, it is in your best interest to enlist the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You’ll also find that the Sixth Amendment grants you the right to an impartial jury and speedy trial.

Finally, the Eighth Amendment protects you from cruel and unusual punishment. Regardless of what crime you are charged with, the police do not have the right to torture you.

I Believe My Rights Were Violated. What Should I Do?

If you believe your Constitutional protections were violated, you must contact your attorney as soon as possible. It is illegal for the police to violate these rights, and your attorney can help hold them accountable. In some instances, these violations can help your case achieve a favorable outcome.

For example, the police cannot continue to question you after you’ve asked for an attorney. If they refuse and continue to pressure you to the point where you let information slip, your attorney may be able to have this information suppressed from the trial. This means the prosecution will not be able to use this information at trial, as the evidence was collected from a Constitutional violation. Without this illegally-obtained information, the prosecution may no longer have a strong case against you.

When you’re in trouble, the Giraudo Law Firm is ready to help. Our dedicated team understands how anxiety-inducing these times can be. As such, we will do everything in our power to fight for the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you through these challenging legal matters.

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