A Defendant’s Rights at Trial

advocate and jurors in courthouseWhen someone is charged with a crime, they become a criminal defendant. During every trial, defendants have access to some legal rights and protections. These rights are collectively referred to as “the due process of law,” which the government must offer during any criminal case.

The Right to Representation
Every criminal defendant has the right to adequate legal representation. If the defendant cannot afford a lawyer, the government will provide one. While uncommon, a defendant does have the right to decline legal representation and represent himself.

The Right to a Speedy Trial
Defendants also have the right to a speedy trial; this ensures that the government will not conduct private hearings that may violate the defendant’s rights.

The Right to a Public Jury Trial
Juries consist of members of the community randomly selected by the court for the prosecution and the defense. To ensure an unbiased verdict, all defendants have the right to be tried by a jury.

Reasonable Bail Costs
As per the eighth amendment, a criminal defendant cannot be charged excessively for a bail bond to allow their release as they await trial. Assistance is available to help pay for bail in the form of PA bail bonds.