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Your Constitutional Rights in Criminal Law

August 25, 2015 | Written by Dan Margolis

We frequently use this blog to discuss the Bill of Right and how it established certain rights that we all enjoy when we are arrested or charged with a crime. In the past, we have give brief overviews of the Sixth Amendment’s right to an attorney, and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

These are two important examples of the rights we enjoy, which are meant to prevent government overreach and try to keep the balance of power between police and prosecutors on one side, and individuals on the other side, fairly even.

We will go into more detail about these constitutional rights in future blog posts. For now, here is a summary of your rights:

> The right to have an attorney represent you
> The right to remain silent during questioning, and not to be forced to incriminate yourself
> The right to a just and speedy right
> The right to being presumed innocent until proven guilty
> The burden of proof being on the prosecution to prove your guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
> The right to cross-examine accusers (usually done by your attorney)
> The right to examine the evidence against you
> The right against unlawful search and seizure
> The right against warrantless searches, in certain situations

These rights can be categorized into two categories: due process and search and seizure. “Due process” refers to the fact that criminal proceedings are supposed to work the same way for everybody. The final two items on the list limit the government’s powers to search our bodies or our property, and to take our things.

A violation of any of these rights can mean an unjust conviction, so it is vital that defense attorneys and the public continue to keep these rights strong.

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