Your Constitutional Rights

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If you are facing a criminal charge, it is important to recognize that you have constitutional rights that are put in place to help you defend yourself. After all, you are innocent until proven guilty, and keeping a conviction off your record is paramount. Not only can a conviction for a crime in the State of Texas lead to jail time and fines, but it can also have lasting social consequences. Knowing your constitutional rights is an excellent place to start when it comes to defending yourself against a criminal charge.

The Basics

The constitutional rights bestowed upon all of us are profound and powerful.

Your Right to Be Mirandized

If the police question you as a suspect in a crime, they must read you your Miranda rights, which explain your rights to remain silent and to have an attorney present. You are always well advised to exercise this right and to refrain from answering questions put to you by the police until you have a dedicated criminal defense attorney in your corner.

Related: Do Not Neglect to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Your Fourth Amendment Rights

You also have Fourth Amendment rights that protect you from unreasonable search, seizure, and arrest. The police cannot arrest you without having probable cause for doing so, and the same goes for searching you, your home, your vehicle, and your possessions.

Read more: Your 4th Amendment Rights and Police Searches & Seizures

Your Sixth Amendment Rights

In addition to Fourth Amendment rights, you have Sixth Amendment rights that allow you to confront your accuser(s). A prime example is your right to have your trusted criminal defense attorney cross-examine any prosecutorial witnesses at your trial.

Your Right to Legal Counsel

If you are accused of a crime, you have the absolute right to competent legal counsel, and you should not be swayed by an officer’s insistence that you do not need an attorney. Better to err on the side of caution than to wish you had invoked this right after the fact.

Your Right to a Speedy Trial

If you have been charged with a crime, you have the right to be tried within a reasonable amount of time. 

Related: Your Right to a Fair and Speedy Trial

You Are Protected from Double Jeopardy

Double jeopardy protections ensure that you cannot be tried for the same crime more than once.

You Are Protected from Cruel and Unusual Punishment

The protection from cruel and unusual punishment ensures that you will not be subject to unduly harsh punishment.

Prisoners Have Civil Rights

Once convicted of a crime and imprisoned, prisoners have their own civil rights that include:

  • The right to appeal their case results

  • The right to be free from sexual crimes and sexual harassment (Related: Sexual Offense Charges in Texas)

  • The right to make complaints about the prison facilities

  • The right to physical and mental health care

An Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If you are facing a criminal charge of any kind, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a well-respected criminal defense attorney who is well prepared and well-positioned to help. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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