The criminal justice system is intimidating, but that doesn’t mean that criminal defendants don’t have rights. Through each stage of the criminal justice system, there are important rights that the government must uphold. This section provides information on the rights of those in the criminal justice system, including Miranda rights such as the right to remain silence, “search and seizure” rights, key rights of criminal defendants, and the various prisoner rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. To begin, select a category from the list below.
A criminal suspect has rights during police interrogations, including the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present.
The 4th Amendment offers protection from unreasonable searches and unlawful arrests.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled that jails and prisons can strip search inmates without an individualized suspicion.
The government can’t force individuals to make statements that would implicate them in a crime.
Criminal defendants have the right to legal representation by a qualified and competent attorney.
The government must bring a defendant to trial in a reasonable amount of time.
With a few important exceptions, the government can’t prosecute individuals for the same crime twice.
Defendants in a criminal case have the right to confront the witnesses against them.
First Appeal Defendants have the right to an attorney for an appeal as well as at trial.
The sentences meted out by the criminal justice system cannot be unduly harsh
A defendant’s rights in the criminal justice system don’t end after sentencing. Learn more about prisoner rights.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
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