What rights do I have?
Regardless of your citizenship, if you are arrested and before a law enforcement officer questions you, he or she must tell you that:
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
- You have a right to have a lawyer present before and during questioning.
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you.
These are your "Miranda" rights, guaranteed by the United States Constitution. If you are not given these warnings, your lawyer can ask that any statements you made to the police not be used against you in court. But this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed. And this does not apply if you volunteer information without being questioned by the police.
If charges are filed, you have a right to be represented by an attorney at all stages of the criminal process, and if you cannot afford to retain your own attorney, the court must appoint an attorney to represent you.
You have a right to present evidence in your defense; to use the subpoena power of the court to require witnesses to appear in court and the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses who testify for the prosecution.
You have a right to remain silent throughout the criminal proceedings, including trial. The government cannot force you to testify or say anything at all, and your silence cannot be used against you as evidence of guilt.
You have a right to have a jury of 12 people decide whether you are guilty of any offense charged against you and guilt must be proved by the prosecutor beyond all reasonable doubt to each and every juror. The verdict must be unanimous.