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What Are My Rights as a Defendant Under the Sixth Amendment?

 Posted on July 25, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Weatherford, TX criminal defense lawyerThe Sixth Amendment gives you legal rights as a defendant once you are in the criminal justice system. These are protections that govern both the timing of the trial and what you can do to defend yourself from the charges. If the prosecution violates these rights, it could mean that you could successfully challenge any conviction on appeal. Here are some of your major rights according to the Sixth Amendment.

The Right to a Speedy Trial

In general, the accused has the right to a “speedy” trial. The Constitution does not give an exact timeframe for what is considered speedy, but appellate courts usually consider:

  • The length of the delay for a trial

  • The reasons for the delay

  • Whether the accused demanded a speedy trial

  • Whether there was any prejudice to the accused

The Right to Counsel

The right to an attorney is one of the most basic rights under the Constitution. Not having money is not a barrier to a defense lawyer, as one is provided for you if you are unable to afford it. Not only do you have a right to counsel, but they must be present when law enforcement is trying to talk to you. A defendant has the right to end questioning when they tell law enforcement that they want a lawyer there.

The Right to Confront the Witnesses Testifying Against You

The Sixth Amendment contains a “Confrontation Clause.” You must be informed of the witnesses who are testifying against you. The prosecution must turn the evidence that they plan on using against you at trial over to your attorney in discovery. In addition, the witnesses must testify against you in open court. Your attorney can cross-examine them after they testify, asking them a set of questions relating to their testimony. 

The Right to an Impartial Jury

An impartial jury means independent people from the community where the defendant lives who will reach their decision based on the evidence that they hear. Both the prosecution and the defense play a role in selecting the jury, although they have more of an active say in cases in state court. 

Contact a Parker County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been arrested, you need the help of a Weatherford criminal defense attorney immediately. Soraya Joslin, P.C. is here when you find yourself enmeshed in the criminal justice system. You can call us today at 817-599-7005 to schedule your free initial consultation.


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