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New Jersey DUI DWI Defense Attorneys - Constitutional Rights

Criminal Defense Overview
Every saint has a past and every sinner a future. Criminal law takes cognizance of this universal truth and every accused is provided with ample rights while deciding whether he/she has committed any offence. Prosecution guidelines provide for certain procedural niceties to be extended to a person accused of crime. After all, the law intends to punish the crime, not the criminal. Adversarial system views crime as a wrongdoing against the state and not against a particular person. The interests of the state are represented by the prosecuting attorney. As such, law views the offender sympathetically and treats him/her as innocent until proved guilty and passes the burden of proving the case to the prosecution. The defendant has a right to be presumed innocent unless and until the State has proven each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, for instance, if a culpable mental state is required to prove a crime, the prosecution must prove that it existed at the time of commission of the offence.
Constitutional Rights
The United States Constitution guarantees a wide array of rights to the criminal defendant from the time of arrest through the trial proceedings. These include: the right to be free from any unreasonable search and seizure, to remain silent, to be tried before a judge or a jury, to summon witnesses and compel their attendance to testify on behalf of the defendant, and to confront and cross-examine any witness the State may call. The defendant in a criminal case has a right to a speedy trial and to be represented by an attorney and is entitled to have an attorney appointed by the court, if the defendant is unable to afford one. The defendant also has a right to consult an attorney or family members before pleading guilty or not guilty before the court.
The criminal proceedings begin by the initiation of a complaint by the purportedly injured person, the complainant. The police investigate about the complaint. A formal charging document called a complaint or an indictment brought by a grand jury is filed with a court in the proper jurisdiction.
The Right to Speedy Trial
The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees a criminal defendant the right to a speedy and public trial, in both state and federal courts, which means that the proceedings are to be completed within a reasonable time after the person being arrested. The defendant has a right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. The Sixth Amendment also guarantees a criminal defendant the right to be tried before an “impartial jury,” which will consider the evidence against the defendant and decide whether to find him/her guilty. In almost all states, the concurrence of twelve jurors is necessary in order to find a defendant “guilty or not guilty.”
Right to be Free from Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the defendant the right to be free from any unreasonable search and seizure. The quintessence of the Amendment is that “every man’s house is his castle” and the rights to be secured in their persons, houses, papers, and other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause.”

Privilege against Self-incrimination
The defendant is entitled to a right under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remain silent during the trial. In other words, the accused person can refuse to answer any questions or make any statements, if such answers or statements establish that the person committed a crime or is in any way connected to some criminal activity. As already mentioned above, the burden of proof of a crime is on the prosecution. However, no one including the prosecutor, the judge, and even the defendant’s lawyer can force the defendant to be a witness against himself/ herself if the person declines to do so. Furthermore, when a defendant exercises his or her right not to testify, the jury is not permitted to take such denial into consideration when deciding the question of liability. Thus, this is a prominent privilege to the criminal defendant. Nevertheless, the defendant cannot selectively answer questions that go against him/her. Once a defendant decides to testify at trial, he/she cannot ordinarily choose to answer some questions but not others. It is to be noted that the Fifth Amendment privilege does not apply when a defendant is fingerprinted, or made to provide a DNA sample in connection with a criminal accusation. Like a criminal defendant, witnesses are also entitled to refuse to answer certain questions by asserting their Fifth Amendment rights. However, this right is not extensive as that of the criminal defendants.