Under Georgia law, a person who is accused of a crime cannot be convicted until each element of such crime is proved beyond reasonable doubt (§ 16-1-5. Presumption of innocence; standard of proof for conviction). Being accused of a crime, therefore, does not make you guilty by default.
Criminal law is complex and for good reasons. Without a system that is just to all, including individuals who have been accused of a crime, a greater number of those individuals could face convictions for crimes they did not commit. Essentially, the presumption of innocence places the onus of establishing guilt on the prosecution, rather than compelling the defendant to prove innocence.
Right to Silence
You may have heard the term “taking the fifth,” which of course refers to an individual exercising his or her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. However, there are several other rights enshrined within the Fifth Amendment, including the right to a grand jury and protection against “double jeopardy.”
While the presumption of innocence and right against self-incrimination could help you in your case, there are numerous other rights that may apply. Every case is different, so it is important that defendants in a criminal case understand relevant areas of law and any protections they are afforded.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
No individual is guilty by default as a result of presumption of innocence. However, your words and actions from the time of any criminal accusation can have implications in a criminal case. If you have been accused of a crime, you may wish to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer. Thomas C. Rowsey can provide qualified legal advice and guidance that will help to ensure your rights are protected.
With over 30 years’ experience in criminal law, Thomas C. Rowsey is passionate about guaranteeing fair representation for individuals in Georgia. Call today if you are in need of an experienced lawyer.
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