Criminal Attorneys Serving Clients in Long Branch, Shrewsbury, Belmar, Tinton Falls and across Monmouth County.
Being arrested for a crime or having a loved one arrested can be a very traumatic and scary experience for most of us. Given that for most contact with the criminal justice system is limited it is common not to know what to do and what the future may hold. However, you can take comfort in the fact that you do indeed have rights as a criminal defendant in New Jersey. Understanding these rights can help you to legally protect yourself and effectively navigate the criminal justice system.
The Constitution of or great nation affords all criminal defendants rights that must be recognized by both law enforcement as well as courts. The rights extended to criminal defendants extend to both before the arrest and after the arrest. These rights are clearly outlined in the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments and are as follows:
Fourth Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment states that if your property, home, or vehicle has been searched by an officer without probable cause or a search warrant, any evidence found can’t be used against you in a court of law. This is known as the “fruit of the poison tree” doctrine and is the backbone of your fourth amendment rights. Many people arrested in New Jersey feel as though the arresting officer had no grounds to search their property or seize their personal belongings. The Fourth Amendment clearly asserts that unreasonable search and seizures are against the law.
Fifth Amendment Rights
The Fifth Amendment outlines your right to remain silent and is the cornerstone of our Miranda rights. When arrested you have the right to remain silent and it is in your best interest to do so until you have proper representation from a criminal defense attorney. Anything you say can and probably will be used against you in a court of law. The Fifth Amendment states that a criminal defendant in New Jersey cannot “be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself” and thus protects an individual from self-incrimination. It is critical that you remain silent until your attorney arrives.
Sixth Amendment Rights
The Sixth Amendment is divided into four main clauses: the right to representation, right to a speedy trial, right to a public jury and the right to confront a witness.
Right to Representation:
- This gives every criminal defendant the right to obtain a criminal defense attorney. If you can’t afford one, one will be appointed to you by the courts from the public defender’s office. However, due to the high volume of cases handled by the public defender’s office, it is highly recommended that you use an experienced criminal defense attorney if possible. Your attorney should give the same level of gravity and focus on your case that you do.
Right to a Speedy Trial:
- Because there isn’t a set time limit in the constitution that defines what “speedy” is, this right can be open to interpretation. Each jurisdiction may set different regulations on their time limits to process cases. If you feel as though your case is being unfairly delayed, you can bring this issue before a judge.
Right to a Public Jury:
- Our justice system affords criminal defendants the right to be tried by a jury of their peers. Though not every criminal case may result in a trial, you do have the right to bring your case to a public forum for judgment.
Right to Confront Witnesses against you:
- The sixth amendment provides a criminal defendant the right to confront their accuser or a witness to the crime you are accused of. This clause gives you the right to present counter-arguments or counter-evidence to defend yourself against their testimony.
Your Eighth Amendment Rights after an Arrest
The Eighth Amendment adds an extra layer of protection in the event someone is detained by law enforcement. A criminal defendant has the right to a reasonable bail amount as well as the right against cruel and unusual punishment.
- Right to a Reasonable Bail: the bail set by the judge must match the severity of the crime. Bail cannot be set to extreme or excessive numbers or for the sole purpose of keeping someone incarcerated.
- Right Against Cruel and Unusual Punishment: few will argue that this is one of the most important rights that criminal defendants have when detained. Despite the crime that you have been accused of, you still have non-debatable basic human rights.
Contact Ocean and Monmouth County Criminal and Municipal Court Lawyers for a Consultation
Our attorneys have many years of experience handling municipal court and criminal matters where the legality of the police stop is in question in towns such as Long Branch, Shrewsbury, Belmar, Tinton Falls, and across the Jersey Shore.
If you want to know if your rights were violated during the police stop contact Monmouth County attorneys of Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington at the West Long Branch, NJ office at 732-440-3950 or toll-free at 888-328-9131.