Five Basic Constitutional Rights All Americans Should Know If Arrested by Law Enforcement Officers
The Constitution of the United States guarantees specific basic rights to citizens arrested or questioned by law enforcement. Some of the basic rights include the right to have a legal counsel, the right to remain silent, etc. You need to know your rights as enshrined in the Constitution. Below are some specific rights you should know in the face of criminal investigation:
The Right to Remain Silent
No person is obliged to talk to police authorities when interrogated concerning a crime. You should NOT give any statement, but politely provide your name and give your driver’s license if requested. The Fifth Amendment as well as the Miranda decision of the Supreme Court protect American Citizens. When you are arrested for a criminal offense, anything that you say to the arresting police authorities is likely to be used against you in court.
The Right to Counsel
This is another important right you should not forget when you face criminal charges. The Sixth Amendment guarantees you the right to counsel by an attorney prior to being questioned by the police. Retaining a lawyer, whether a private attorney or a public defender,if you cannot afford one, is critical prior to making any statement to the police.
The Right to be protected from Unreasonable Searches or Seizure
Unless a police officer shows you proper credentials and a search warrant, you should not allow any form of search to be conducted on your body, property and car. The Fourth Amendment keeps you from unfounded searches and seizures. If a police officer shows you a warrant, you must ask to read the content of the papers before allowing them to conduct search. It is also better to ask the police officer if you may watch as they conduct the search and to call your attorney prior to the search.
The Right to Due Process of Law
This specific right guarantees you to have a fair trial or fair trial and that specific rights and/or privileges shall not be taken away from you.
The Right to Speedy and Public Trial
A speedy public jury trial is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment, unless you request a bench trial. The right to a speedy trial in the U.S. makes sure that defendants do not spend an unreasonable amount of time in jail prior to a public trial. Infringements of the speedy trial rule may result in a dismissal of the criminal charges.