According to Henry Wade, a respected criminal defense lawyer of The Wade Law Firm in Texas, when you are charged with a crime, one of the first things that any experienced defense attorney will review to help prepare for your defense is the way in which your constitutional rights were upheld.
The rights given to you merely because you are a citizen of the United States are some of the best measures in place to protect you during investigations and trials. While your lawyer should be well-versed in the Constitution, it is also important that you understand some of the rights in place on your behalf. They include:
1. Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”
This is the reason why warrants must be obtained from the courts before police can enter your home. Under this law, you are protected from having your property searched without just cause. While there are exceptions, like willingly letting the police into your home, this provides the public with general protection.
2. Fifth Amendment: “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…”
This is just where the Miranda Warning is derived from, which is in place to remind you of your right to remain silent and not speak out against yourself if you are arrested of interrogated. According to this law, you cannot be tried for the same crime more than once.
3. Sixth Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
According to this amendment, you are formally made aware of all of the charges that are being brought against you, and you have the ability to obtain defense counsel, who will work to keep your best interests in mind throughout the trial. This amendment also assures that you are given a fair trial by a jury, that you are given the ability to present witnesses that can speak to the court in your favor, and that you can cross-examine any of the prosecutor’s witnesses.
4. Fourteenth Amendment: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
Under this law, the rights given to you in the Constitution cannot be revoked by any state. Therefore, an unconstitutional law cannot be passed and enforced in any state.
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