Right to remain silent
The Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of New Jersey guarantee a person arrested and/or charged with a crime certain fundamental rights. Consider these rights to be “protections” that can never be trampled upon or more specifically, "messed with".
Our nation’s forefathers escaped the tyranny of England and vowed to create a new nation, with certain fundamental rights that can never be violated. The role of the American Defense Attorney is not only to guarantee that a person accused of a crime be given a fair trial. The duty of every criminal defense attorney is to safeguard against the violation of these fundamental Constitutional rights.
If ever in police custody, you have every right to refuse to give an answer or a comment, regardless of how intimidating the interrogation or questioning can become. This is a fundamental right. When you keep quiet, you are invoking your right to remain silent. Your silence is interpreted to mean that you are invoking your right against self-incrimination as stated in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the New Jersey Constitution.
For more on Miranda v. Arizona, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miranda_v._Arizona
Right to counsel
We advise all of our clients to always ask for a lawyer. If the cuffs ever go on, it’s time to stop talking and ask for lawyer. The perfect situation would involve a criminal defendant to have an attorney immediately following an arrest.
The landmark United States Supreme Court decision regarding this issue is: Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963)
To learn more about this case, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gideon_v._Wainwright
presumption of innocence
In other words, a juror is not allowed to conclude, “Well, he must be guilty because he didn’t testify on his own behalf. He must be hiding something and that’s why I will find him guilty.” Again, America is dramatically different from other countries in this regard. In many foreign justice systems, a defendant is compelled (forced) to testify in his or her own defense. A defendant’s unwillingness to testify on their own behalf is considered an admission of guilt. In the United States, the defendant’s decision to testify on his or her own behalf is completely up to the defendant.
Right to a trial by jury
In New Jersey, Petty Disorderly and Disorderly offenses are decided by a municipal court judge. In New Jersey, although DUI cases are quasi-criminal in nature given the potential for a defendant to end up in jail, New Jersey does not offer jury trials in DUI cases. In New Jersey, with a few exceptions, DUI trials are always decided by a judge. New Jersey criminal offenses such as Child Endangerment, Aggravated Assault, Drug Possession, Sexual Assault, Terroristic Threats, Robbery, and many others may be decided by a judge OR jury.
For an interesting discussion on DUI trials in New Jersey, please visit: Does New Jersey Have Jury Trials in DUI Cases?
About the Author
Mr. Peyrouton is a Criminal Defense Attorney in Bergen County, NJ.