The United States Constitution was written to protect Americans from numerous things. What most people do not realize, however, is the constitution also protects them when it comes to criminal acts. There are specific guaranteed rights a person has under the Constitution’s Bill of Rights – and these are critical when you are arrested or even accused of a crime.
Whether you are guilty or not, you should know the constitutional amendments that can impact the outcome of your case – and even your freedom. Most likely you are already familiar with the Fifth Amendment, which is your right to remain silent. But, you may be unaware that there are three more constitutional rights that are important during a criminal investigation and trial.
What Are the Amendments I Should Know?
- The Fourth Amendment – This deals with search and seizure – more specifically, the government’s ability to search or seize your personal property. An agent of the government, including police officers, cannot search or seize your property unless they have a search warrant, arrest warrant or valid probable cause. If your search or seizure violates your Fourth Amendment rights, the evidence obtained in that violation is not admissible in court.
- The Sixth Amendment – The Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to counsel. That is why state and federal governments provide you with appointed counsel if you are unable to afford legal counsel on your own. These attorneys are provided at no cost to you and instead are paid for by the government. Also, the Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to confront witnesses and your accusers as well as to cross-examine the witness and evidence that is being presented against you in the case.
- The Eighth Amendment – This is one that most criminal defendants are not aware of, but should be. According to the Eighth Amendment, the government is not allowed to use cruel or unusual punishments against you. That means if you are convicted or even being held while awaiting trial, you are entitled to basic level rights – even if you are not technically free.
Why It Is Important to Know Your Constitutional Rights
As a defendant, you should always know your rights. Your rights are there to protect you, and during an arrest, interrogation or even a search of your home, knowing those rights could help you in court. When the police, prosecution or other government agent violates your rights, your criminal defense attorney can use that information to help strengthen your defense during the trial – and possibly have evidence found inadmissible.
Speak With a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today
It is hard to remember or understand your rights when you are going through the stressful and highly emotional process of an arrest. Contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. today regarding your case. We can help protect your constitutional rights and mount a valuable defense in your case. Call us at 904-356-8618 or contact us online now to schedule a consultation.