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You have a right to be presumed innocent

When you're arrested and facing charges, it can feel like it's up to you to prove that you're innocent. You may feel like everyone is assuming that you're guilty and you have to change their minds. For example, perhaps someone accused you of theft. You may feel like you have to prove that you weren't at the store or you did not take the items in question.

If you've felt this way, as is common, it's important to note that this is actually the opposite of how the criminal justice system is supposed to work. You're not supposed to be assumed to be guilty, and you don't have to prove anything. Instead, the court is supposed to assume that you are innocent unless your accuser can prove that you're not.

This isn't to say that proving your own innocence isn't a viable tactic. Perhaps you have a plane ticket that proves that you were out of town when the theft took place, so you can easily show that you weren't there and are therefore innocent of all charges. If you have something like this, you might as well use it and clear your name.

However, if you don't have evidence that clears your name so easily, remember that the burden of proof is not on you in the first place. It's on those who are accusing you of committing the crime. If that can't be done, you can't be found guilty, no matter what you are able to prove on your end.

When you're accused of a crime in Maryland, always make sure you know what rights you have. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide guidance.

Source: Human Rights, "We're Always Innocent Till Proven Guilty," accessed July 06, 2016

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