In the United States all persons who are charged
with a crime are presumed innocent until proven
guilty in a court of law. The burden is upon
the prosecution to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt
that the suspect is guilty of breaking the law.
The defendant is never required to prove or show
reason why he or she is innocent of the charges.
If a judge or jury has any doubt about the guilt of
the defendant, they must find in his or her favor.
All persons charged of a crime are also entitled to
legal counsel. If the person cannot afford or
provide his or her own legal counsel, the court will
provide legal counsel at the court's expense.
Defendants are also afforded the right to a speedy
trial. The police or other law enforcement
entity cannot hold a defendant indefinitely without
quickly bringing charges against them and then
providing them a speedy trial.
Under the Miranda ruling all persons arrested must
be informed of their right to legal counsel and their
right to refuse to speak to the authorities. If
not informed of these rights, implicating statements
they might make may not be used against them in a
court of law.
Defendants may also not be charged more than once
for the same crime. Referred to as
double-jeopardy, if a defendant is found innocent of a
crime he or she may not be charged again for that same
crime for any reason; even if later, evidence is
uncovered showing that the defendant may have been