WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?

Right to a Lawyer: You have the right to have an attorney represent you throughout your case. Your lawyer will meet with you and help you understand your case. Your lawyer will advocate on your behalf at all court hearings and file all appropriate legal motions. If the Public Defender’s Office cannot represent you due to a conflict of interest, you will be given an alternate attorney.

Right to a Speedy Trial: You have the right to demand a speedy trial. However, it is sometimes best to give up this right if more time is needed to prepare your defense. This is a decision that you and your lawyer should talk about. In a probation violation matter, there is no right to a speedy hearing, but a hearing must be held within "a reasonable time."

Right to a Jury Trial: If you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you have the right to demand a trial by jury. This means that your guilt or innocence will be decided by 12 jury members selected from the community. Under the law, you are presumed innocent. You cannot be found guilty of a crime unless all 12 people on the jury find you guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Right to Remain Silent: Everything that you say to the police can be used against you in court, so you should consult with an attorney before speaking to the police. If the police try to ask you questions or they ask to "hear your side of the story," refuse to talk to them and demand to speak to your lawyer. Tell them, "I do not want to do or say anything without my lawyer here." Law enforcement may still try to question you even after an attorney has been appointed to represent you. If so, you must repeat that you will not answer any questions without your lawyer present. If you demand to speak to your lawyer, they must stop questioning you.