Your Rights in Court
Whenever you are charged with a crime and you have to attend court you have rights under our Constitution. I will hit on the three main rights…
You have there right to remain silent. The 5th amendment in the Bill of Rights affords you the right to not say anything to incriminate yourself, and therefore, you do not have to speak when spoken to really. You can just assert your 5th amendment rights or remain silent.
You have the right to a lawyer. You have the right to ask the court to give you time to get a lawyer or to get one appointed for you, if you qualify. You must show that you cannot afford an attorney and therefore have one appointed for you. And while I am on this topic let me just say that the public defenders office is filled with exceptional trial lawyers. But you have to qualify to have one appointed for you.
You have the right to have to a jury trial. Depending on which court you are in you have the right to have have 6 or 12 jurors hear your case and decide your guilt or innocence. In some states you do not have the right to a jury trial for smaller offenses in magistrate court (Washington, DC)….so be thankful we have the jury trial right in all criminal courts in South Carolina.