In the US, there’s a process that has to be undertaken before a person’s freedom is taken away. For example, a person that has been accused of a crime has the following rights: 

The Right to Receive Notice

You have the right to be notified that the government is under the intention to deprive you of your freedom. If you are accused of committing a crime, you should be told what crime you are accused of. 

The Right to Remain Silent

The Right to Remain Silent

You will have the chance to be heard and defend yourself at a trial. Before that, you can stand for your right to remain silent. The ones who accused you or arrested you cannot force you to give them evidence that could incriminate you. 

If you give up the right to stay silent and try to defend yourself, anything that you say can be used against you in court. For example, if a person accused of possession of substances says to the police that they have a prescription, the police can decide that the defense indicates a possible pay-for-prescription drug trafficking ring.

The Right to Be Represented by a Lawyer

From the moment of the arrest, you have the right to a lawyer. You have to request to be able to contact your attorney or get one for free. The right to an attorney applies during arrests, trials, and even if you take a plea deal. In that case, a lawyer can explain how it would impact you in the long term. 

The Right to a Decision by a Neutral Decision-Maker

The ultimate decision about you being innocent or guilty can’t rely on the hands of the ones who arrested or accused you (the police or prosecutors). A judge, who has no interest in the outcome, should be the one making the decision.

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