In the United States, it is almost criminal to be poor. It is illegal for homeless people to find ways to survive. Authorities eject them from public spaces and destroy their property. The country has jails full of people who have not yet received a conviction, meaning they are still waiting for their day in court. They cannot afford to pay for bail. Therefore, they have no choice but to wait days, months or even years before they get a chance to prove their innocence.
The criminal justice system is supposed to be in place to preserve and maintain the quality of life of all people in the country. However, it seems to punish people for being poor and also prevents them from receiving a reasonable defense. Regardless of the clothes on your back or the shoes you wear, you have civil and constitutional rights, and you should know those rights to protect yourself against wrongful charges.
What rights do you need to know when facing criminal charges?
Every person in the United States has the right to equal protection under the law. It is your civil right. You have a civil right to a fair trial when facing criminal charges. Constitutional rights can preserve your right to a fair trial. Here are the constitutional rights that you should know if someone is accusing you of a crime:
- You have a right against self-incrimination.
- You have a right to remain silent.
- You have a right against unreasonable search and seizure.
- You have a right to due process.
- You have a right to a jury.
- You have a right to a speedy trial.
- You have a right to a public trial.
- You have a right to an attorney.
While the list is not exhaustive, it gives you an understanding of your civil liberties and privileges amid wrongful criminal allegations.
Why should everyone know their rights?
The unfair treatment of people in poverty is rampant among law enforcement officers. Their prejudice and that of unreliable eyewitnesses are some of the leading causes of wrongful convictions in the country. By knowing your rights, you can protect yourself and ensure you retrieve the justice you deserve.