St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyer: Know Your Rights 101


A criminal charge in Missouri does not mean a conviction. You have rights as a criminal defendant under the state as well as the federal constitution. Make sure you choose a knowledgeable St. Louis criminal lawyer who has an in-depth understanding of your constitutional rights and is able to put up a robust defense to protect these rights. Some of the important rights include:

  •       Right to be free from any type of unreasonable seizure or search under the Fourth Amendment.
  •       Right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment.
  •       Right to have a criminal trial by judge and jury under the Sixth Amendment
  •       Right to call witnesses and ensure their mandatory attendance in order to testify on your behalf.
  •       Right to challenge and cross-examine any or all witnesses that the prosecution may summon.
  •       Right to have an expeditious trial.
  •       Right to obtain professional legal representation from an attorney.
  •       Right to have a defense attorney appointed by the Court, if you can prove that you are not able to afford a private attorney’s fee.
  •       Right to seek advice from your defense lawyer, friends, and family members before you enter a guilty or not guilty plea.

If you have been accused of or charged with a criminal act, be prepared to defend yourself with the help of a reputable and competent St. Louis criminal defense lawyer.

Self-Defense Laws in Missouri

Under Missouri law, you have the constitutional right to protect yourself, even if it involves the use of force against an aggressor. Your St. Louis criminal lawyer will have to prove that you were under attack and afraid for your life in order to show that you acted in self-defense.

In Missouri, you can also defend yourself against assault charges if you can establish that you acted in order to protect yourself or another person from attack. As long as you are able to justify that the circumstances compelled you to act in self-defense and you used reasonable force in proportion to the amount of threat you faced, you can get protection under Missouri’s self-defense laws.

Castle Doctrine in Missouri

A skilled St. Louis criminal defense lawyer will be able to use the “castle doctrine” to protect your rights in appropriate cases in Missouri. Under this legal doctrine, residents in the state have a right to use force against an intruder based on the concept that your home is like your own “castle.” You do not have a duty to retreat when these types of circumstances occur.

This doctrine in Missouri assumes that if the security of your home is challenged by an invader, and they have an intention to harm you, you have the right to repel their threat. Compared to many other states, this law is more expansive in Missouri because it allows a homeowner to use force which they reasonably perceive as essential in the given situation, which even includes deadly force.

Protect Your Rights with Help from a St. Louis Criminal Lawyer

If you are arrested in Missouri, be courteous with the cops but request to speak to our criminal defense attorneys before the questioning begins. Timing is vital in these cases, and any delay could weaken your case. At Miller & Hine, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with us. Call us at (314) 413-2053 or contact us online.