Tennessee criminal defense attorneys

Understanding Your Rights as a Criminal Defendant in Tennessee

Facing criminal charges can be an overwhelming and intimidating experience. As a criminal defendant in Tennessee, however, you are entitled to a range of rights designed to ensure fair treatment and due process. Understanding these rights is crucial for navigating the legal system and mounting an effective defense. To help ensure that you are protected, a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer atcriminal defense attorney Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses your rights as a criminal defendant in Tennessee.

The Right to Remain Silent

One of the most fundamental rights you have as a criminal defendant is the right to remain silent. This is protected under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution and means that you are not required to answer questions or provide information that could incriminate you. In Tennessee, law enforcement officers are required to inform you of this right through what is commonly known as the Miranda warning. If you choose to remain silent, you should explicitly state that you are invoking your right to silence.

The Right to an Attorney

Another cornerstone of your rights is the right to legal representation. Under the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to be represented by an attorney during all critical stages of the criminal process. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court is obligated to appoint one for you at no cost. This ensures that you have access to legal expertise and can effectively defend the allegations made against you.

The Right to a Fair Trial

As a criminal defendant, you are entitled to a fair trial. In practice, the right to a fair trial includes several specific rights, including:

  • The Right to a Speedy Trial: Tennessee law mandates that criminal cases be resolved without unnecessary delays. This helps to prevent prolonged pretrial detention and ensures that you can clear your name in a timely manner. The exact time frame within which a case must be brought to trial will depend on several factors.
  • The Right to an Impartial Jury: You have the right to be judged by a jury of your peers. The jury must be unbiased and selected through a process that seeks to eliminate any prejudices or conflicts of interest.
  • The Right to Confront Witnesses: You have the right to confront and cross-examine any witnesses who testify against you. This allows you to challenge their credibility and the accuracy of their statements.
  • The Right to Present a Defense: You are allowed to present evidence and call witnesses in your defense. This ensures that you can tell your side of the story and provide any exculpatory information that may support your innocence.

The Right Against Double Jeopardy

The Fifth Amendment protects you from being tried twice for the same offense. This means that once you have been acquitted or convicted of a particular crime, you cannot be prosecuted again for the same offense. This protection is crucial in preventing the government from subjecting individuals to multiple prosecutions for the same conduct.

The Right to Appeal

If you are convicted of a crime, you have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court. An appeal allows you to challenge any legal errors that may have occurred during your trial, such as improper admission of evidence or incorrect jury instructions. The appellate court will review your case and determine whether to uphold the conviction, reverse it, or remand it for a new trial.

Although both the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions guarantee these rights, they can be difficult to understand and to exercise in real life. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected throughout a criminal prosecution in Tennessee.

Contact a Murfreesboro Defense Attorney 

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the tram today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.


Stan Bennett