For most people, knowing all of the laws in the country is impossible. This is one reason why people count on lawyers when they get into trouble and end up facing criminal charges. If you are in that position, you should know that you have a right to have a lawyer with you at certain steps in the criminal justice system. This right is given to you by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Your right to have an attorney present is one that is usually presented to you when your Miranda rights are read to you. But, you don’t have to wait for that to occur to invoke that right. In fact, you can invoke your Sixth Amendment rights without having to be presented with the option.

The right to have an attorney isn’t limited only to federal cases. It is universal for all state cases, as well. This is because of a precedent set by Gideon v. Wainwright, which occurred in 1963.

This amendment gives you some other rights that you should be aware of. It gives you the right to a jury trial in most cases. The jury that sits for your trial must be impartial. The jury trial must also meet the requirement of being a speedy trial, which is something that varies some. The amendment also covers the inclusion of witnesses in the trial and being able to decide whether you will stand as a witness or not in your trial.

When you think about the severity of sex crimes, you can easily see why you would probably need to invoke these rights. You should also make sure that you understand the charges against you, which is another point covered in this amendment.

Source: FindLaw, “U.S. Constitution: Sixth Amendment,” accessed Nov. 10, 2016