When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, there are a number of provisions under the U.S. Constitution that protect them. Unfortunately, individuals do not always realize that they have these civil rights, and anxiety and fear during a confrontation with law enforcement can lead to a sense of helplessness and intimidation. The use of excessive force during the arrest or detainment of the suspect for an extended period of time can make the situation far worse.
It is important for people to know what to do if they are stopped or pulled over by the police, if law enforcement comes to their door or if they are arrested. Because interactions with a police officer can easily escalate quickly, knowing one’s rights ahead of time can help diffuse a situation when they remain calm and understand the officer’s limits. If their rights are violated, they will have a strong defense against future criminal charges.
It is also important if you live in Texas to have aggressive legal representation that knows a person is innocent until proven guilty, and can help you build a strong defense to fight the charges and make sure your rights are not violated.
The rights of the accused
The U.S. Constitution protects the rights of citizens who are arrested and accused of a crime in several ways under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments:
- The right to remain silent, to not incriminate oneself and to a trial by Grand Jury are all covered under the Fifth Amendment. These rights plus the right to legal counsel, under the Sixth Amendment, make up the protections outlined by the Miranda Rights. The Fifth Amendment also protects the accused from being charged twice for the same crime.
- The right to due process under the law guarantees the equal and fair treatment of the accused, including against prolonged detainment, and is covered under the Fifth Amendment for federal, and the Fourteenth Amendment for state, cases.
- The guarantee of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by the federal government is found in the Fourth Amendment. Both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments also uphold the exclusionary rule that maintains that evidence gathered illegally cannot be used at trial.
- The prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment is protected under the Eighth Amendment. This requires that punishment be given in a fair and consistent manner, even in capital punishment cases.
Also covered under Article One is the writ of habeas corpus, which, along with due process guarantees, protects against the unjust detainment of the accused.