If you have been accused of a crime in New York, you have the right to due process of law. However, you may not know just how important due process is. Due process assures that you are given a fair hearing and that you have the opportunity to confront your accuser. It is only through proper due process that you have the chance to assert your innocence.
It is not always clear to people that are not lawyers what the term “due process” means. While there are many concepts that come to mind when you hear the phrase “due process,” the most important two considerations are notice and confrontation.
Making Sure You Have Received Proper Notice
If you have been accused of a crime, authorities have to properly notify you before they can take action:
- Against your Property – Such as impounding your car after a DUI charge
- Against your Personhood (or your liberty and freedoms) – Such as arresting you and putting you in jail after you have been accused of a crime
- Against your Privileges (or your license or rights) – Such as revoking your driver’s license after a DUI charge.
This means that before any government authority can take anything from you, you have a right by law to understand what actions are being taken against you and why your rights would be taken away
Notice has to be given before you lose any rights so that you have the chance to built a defense. Furthermore, in criminal cases, you must be given clear information on the specific charges against you and the probable cause that allowed police to arrest you. By getting proper notice, you are able to consult an attorney and prepare a case for your defense.
Due Process Assures You Can Confront Your Charges
The other important element of due process in criminal cases is an opportunity to confront the charges made against you. There are three ways that you can do this:
- You can challenge the proof or evidence against you. If evidence has been acquired illegally, a lawyer can petition to have it made inadmissible during trial. You can also challenge the validity of any tests that support your guilt.
- You can confront your accuser. You have the right, if you choose, to take the stand and give your own testimony. You can also have police or your accuser cross-examined to find holes in their testimony.
- You can contradict proof being used against you. You have the chance to show your own evidence. You can bring in experts and witnesses to testify on your behalf.
The confrontation element of due process assures that your side of the story will be heard.
Consult a Lawyer to Make Sure Your Rights are Protected
While in the United States we are assured protection of our rights by law, sometimes uninformed citizens are taken advantage of by actions that may be considered violations of due process. All people accused of crimes have the right to an attorney who can help make sure that due process is observed and can build a defense case.
If you have been accused of a crime, make sure to contact a lawyer with experience to help you through every step of the legal process. I have served as a Bronx Prosecutor, meaning that I am very familiar with the way due process works in New York. Call me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833 for a free consultation today to get a lawyer on your side to fight the criminal charges. I look forward to helping you with your case.