When you are facing the criminal justice system, you should know that you can’t just be treated any old way. Instead, the people who are part of the system have to ensure that they keep your rights in mind. These rights are covered in the United States Constitution. One amendment, the Sixth Amendment, gives you some very specific rights that are crucial if you are facing any criminal charges, including those for theft.
This amendment is the one that gives you the right to have an attorney present when you are dealing with anything significant in the criminal justice system. It covers the interrogation phase, trial, sentencing and initial appeal.
It is interesting to note that Sixth Amendment rights pertain to anyone who is in the criminal justice system, not only American citizens. Some of the other protections that you can count on thanks to this amendment include the right to be present at a trial, while the jury is hearing your case, the choice to refuse to testify, the right to testify and the chance to call witnesses.
The Sixth Amendment also gives you the right to have a jury trial. This right isn’t universal because there are some cases that don’t have this right. Be sure to ask if the right to a jury trial applies to your case so that you can plan accordingly.
The provisions of this amendment are only some of the rights you have. If you invoke your right to counsel, you can find out what rights you have and your counsel can help you to ensure that they are respected.
Source: FindLaw, “What the Sixth Amendment Guarantees,” accessed Nov. 10, 2016