The accused in a criminal case has a right to a trial by jury pursuant to the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In addition, the 6th Amendment contains some of the most fundamental rights that the document provides. When a person is arrested and indicted, a formal accusation has taken place and your rights under the law begin.
You have the right to a speedy trial, one that occurs within a reasonable amount of time. This right keeps a person from sitting in a prison cell or having an allegation hanging over their head for an indeterminate period of time. As the defendant, it is up to you to exercise your right to a speedy trial from the beginning and any delay by the prosecution must be immediately challenged. If your right to a speedy trial is proven to have been violated, you may seek to have the charges against you thrown our or a conviction and/or sentence overturned.
You have the right under the 6th Amendment to come face to face with the witnesses for the prosecution and to present your case before a jury of your peers. You have the right to call witnesses on your behalf to support your innocence. Understanding and practicing these fundamental rights are the foundation of a strong defense.
Your attorney plays a special role in the jury selection process. You have a right to be tried by a jury of your peers. The process of voir dire affords the defense attorney an opportunity to question and get to know each potential juror in order to select the ones that will be the most understanding of your side of the case. Effective jury selection is a critical part of the defense process and can make or break your defense.
In a criminal case as with others, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty and your guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A jury verdict in a criminal case must be unanimous.