Rights

Under the United States and California Constitution if you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony crime you have certain rights. One of the most if not the most important right is the right to an attorney.

Can you imagine representing yourself at trial in a major case? Many have tried and most have failed. Clarence Gideon was convicted of burglary when the government would not appoint an attorney for him. That conviction was overturned and Gideon was later acquitted of these same charges once he had an attorney. (see Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) 372 U.S. 335)

The right to an attorney is available whether you can afford an attorney or not. If you cannot afford an attorney the court can appoint one to represent you. Usually that is the public defender or may be a private attorney that is appointed by the court to help you.

Rights In Adult Court – When Charged With Felony or Misdemeanor

  1. You have a right to an attorney (counsel, lawyer, public defender)
  2. You have a right to a preliminary hearing (unless the DA elects to indict with Grand Jury)
  3. You have a right to a speedy and public trial
  4. You have a right to a jury trial or court trial
  5. You have the right confront and cross-examine witnesses that testify against you in court.
  6. You have a right to remain silent
  7. You have a right to testify in your own defense
  8. You have a right to use the subpoena powers of the court to compel witnesses to testify
  9. You have a right to produce evidence in your own defense

Rights In Juvenile Court – When Charged With Felony or Misdemeanor

  1. You have a right to an attorney (counsel, lawyer, public defender)
  2. You have a right to a speedy contested jurisdictional hearing (speedy trial)
  3. You have a right to a court contested jurisdictional hearing (court trial)
  4. You have a right to remain silent
  5. You have a right to testify in your own defense
  6. You have a right to use the subpoena powers of the court to compel witnesses to testify
  7. You have a right to produce evidence in your own defense
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