Accused of a Crime? Here’s What You Need to Know

Having criminal charges filed against you can be a terrifying thing. Remember, however, that you have rights, including the presumption of innocence and the right to criminal defense Jacksonville NC. Furthermore, you are under no obligation to speak to law enforcement or anyone else until you have consulted with an attorney. 

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Your Constitutional Rights

Under the Constitution of the United States, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. This means the State (in this case, North Carolina) must prove to a judge and jury beyond all reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime of which s/he is accused.  On the other hand, the defendant does not have to prove their innocence. Instead, the prosecution must provide hard, irrefutable evidence of the defendant’s guilt. This may include physical evidence (the proverbial “smoking gun,” DNA, fingerprints, etc.) as well as witnesses claiming to have seen the crime. 

Furthermore, the prosecution must convince the twelve randomly-selected individuals who make up the jury that the defendant did indeed commit the crime.


You may have heard this term in legal dramas or police procedurals. This generally means that law enforcement and the prosecutor are so anxious to wrap up a case and get a conviction that they place undue pressure on the accused in an attempt to get a confession. If that happens, remember the Miranda warning that every law enforcement officer is required to give. It is a reminder that you have a Constitutional right to not incriminate yourself. It’s also excellent advice: better to remain silent than to give the law anything they can use against you. 

This is why your second phone call (after the bail bondsman) should be to a qualified criminal defense attorney. Even if you are found guilty, a good criminal defense lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced.

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