Being charged with any crime is a big deal. If you are facing a criminal charge, the primary concern would be how you can defend yourself and get out of trouble.
Depending on the nature of your case, you may explore the possibility of taking the stand in your trial. But is this always a good idea?
If you are charged with a crime, it is important to remember the following:
- You have the right to remain silent
- You have the right to legal representation
- Your words can be used against you during the trial
When taking the stand may be a good idea
First of all, it is important to understand that you have the legal right to testify in your own defense. However, this is a very critical decision. While the prosecution has the burden of proof in your criminal case, there are times when the court may be interested in hearing your side of the story. If you are able to remain calm, sincere, consistent in your story and articulate, then it’s possible your testimony might have weight.
When you’d rather not testify in your trial
The law also gives you the right to stay mum. Since the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, the defendant may simply sit back and wait for the prosecutor to flame out. Besides, taking the stand can be a grueling undertaking, especially when the prosecution decides to grill the defendant. And if you have had prior convictions, even for different crimes, the court may get to hear about these if the prosecution decides to bring them up.
The decision of whether to testify in your own trial or not is entirely up to you. Exploring your legal options when charged with a crime can help you defend yourself effectively and safeguard your rights when charged with a crime.