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What Are Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in Connecticut?

 Posted on March 28,2024 in Criminal Defense

CT defense lawyerThe Bill of Rights grants every U.S. citizen a number of civil liberties, including freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and protection from illegal searches and seizures. Perhaps most importantly, defendants are given various rights when being prosecuted for a crime.

As a criminal defendant, it is important that you are informed of your constitutional rights. If you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, you need to speak with our Stamford criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today.

Due Process of Law

The Fifth Amendment grants us the right to due process. Every criminal defendant is entitled to a fair trial. Nobody should be punished without the government proving his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Protection from Being Tried Twice for the Same Offense

Known as double jeopardy, the Fifth Amendment also protects criminal defendants from being prosecuted twice for the same offense. If this protection were not in place, the government could re-file charges against a criminal defendant if new evidence comes to light.

Protection against double jeopardy only applies to criminal cases, not civil suits. If a private party decides to sue you civilly in the same manner, there is no law preventing that individual from doing so.

Protection from Self-Incrimination

Each criminal defendant is protected from giving testimony that could be incriminating. As stipulated in Miranda v. Arizona, this protection goes beyond testimony provided in the courtroom.

In this landmark case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that protection from self-incrimination extends to any situation in which a person’s freedom is restricted. This would encompass when a person is being questioned by a police officer following an arrest and is not free to leave. 

As a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling, when law enforcement plans to question a detained suspect, the officer is now required to read that person's constitutional rights.

Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment affords criminal defendants the right to be tried in front of a jury of one’s peers. The Constitution states that the jury should be impartial, and the trial should take place in the same county where the crime was committed.

CT Gen. Stat. §54-82 permits a defendant to choose between a jury trial or bench trial (the judge will reach a final verdict). In criminal cases not including capital offenses or offenses punishable by life in prison, the jury panel may consist of six jurors. Otherwise, the case will be tried in front of twelve jurors. 

A Fairfield County criminal defense lawyer will advise you on whether you should choose a bench or jury trial. This is a major decision that should be made by knowledgeable counsel.

Right to Confront Witnesses

Also known as the Confrontation Clause, any individual accused of a crime has the right to confront a witness who is testifying against him or her. When you hire an attorney, the attorney represents your interests and is questioning this witness on your behalf.

A Stamford, CT, Criminal Defense Lawyer Dedicated to Your Case

When you retain the help of Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner, you are hiring an attorney who cares deeply about your well-being. With over 45 years of experience, our Fairfield County, CT, criminal defense lawyer is dedicated to seeing your case from start to finish. Contact Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner online or call 203-348-5846 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation today. 

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