Facing charges for while collar crimes, such as fraud or embezzlement, can be intimidating and confusing. A bad outcome may mean long lasting negative consequences for you, your business and your family. You may be hearing many terms you do not understand and wondering how you ended up in this situation. Your focus at this time should be ensuring that no one violates your civil rights and that you obtain a fair trial.
However, many in your circumstances are not certain what a fair trial looks like. In fact, many who face charges of white-collar crimes have little experience inside a courtroom, and their only knowledge of criminal proceedings is the fictional representation of the justice system on TV. You may understand that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a fair trial to anyone accused of a crime, but what does that mean for you?
Elements of a fair trial
Even though the Constitution does not give explicit details for the elements of a fair trial, the current concept of fairness has developed over the centuries. In fact, the words “fair trial” do not appear in the Constitution. Instead, the document names several specific rights the judicial system must respect to ensure your trial is just, including these:
- Those seeking your conviction must follow the formal procedure for investigating the allegations, searching and seizing your property, arresting you, and ensuring you receive due process every step of the way.
- You have the right to face in court anyone who has accused you of any crime and to cross-examine them after they have testified against you.
- You may defend yourself against the charges by calling witnesses to testify on your behalf and presenting evidence that complies with the rules of the federal government or the state of Florida, depending on the jurisdiction of your case.
- The Constitution provides for an impartial jury, which is historically 12 individuals who have no connection to you and who will not benefit from the outcome.
- You have the right to secure legal representation at any point from the moment of your arrest, or even before if you are under investigation.
Having an attorney means having an experienced advocate who knows the law well enough to recognize when the system is not treating you fairly. Your attorney should be ready to object to any violations of your rights and to work to ensure you receive a fair trial.