What Are Your Constitutional Rights as an American?
Many people are familiar with the term ‘constitutional rights’, however they don’t know what these rights actually are. To help you in understanding what your constitutional rights are, here is a useful summary of what these amendments state. For the sake of this article, we will only focus on the first 10 amendments to the constitution (also known as the Bill of Rights).
If you would like to read the official bill of rights, follow this link: Click Here
The first amendment states many important fundamental rights that you should know. Firstly, it states that the government won’t be involved in religious matters. This includes prohibiting the exercise of a religion. The first amendment also states that the people have a right to free speech, freedom from press, peaceful assembly, and the right to petition the government.
The second amendment outlines the right to the protection of freedom through a well-regulated militia (military) and the people’s right to bear arms.
The third amendment addresses the rights of home owners from housing soldiers. Essentially it says that no home owner must house a soldier during times of peace. It also says that it is not required during times of war or danger, unless it is placed in law.
The fourth amendment protects people and their property from unreasonable search and seizure. It also states that a warrant cannot be issued unless there is a basis of probable cause that is supported by an Oath or affirmation. Finally, it specifies that a warrant to search must state the place to be searched, the persons to be searched, and the things to be seized.
The fifth amendment is a dense one, and it contains many important rights. Firstly, it grants people being charged with a capital or infamous crime the right to presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury. Except in situations regarding the military forces during times of war/public danger. Secondly, it prevents someone from being charged with the same crime twice or being forced to testify against himself. Thirdly, no person may be deprived of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law. And lastly, no one should have their property taken by the government (for public usage) without fair compensation.
The sixth amendment is also very dense and outlines someone’s rights in court. Firstly, it gives the accused the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, in the state and district where the crime was committed. Secondly, the accused has the right to know the nature and cause of the accusation. Thirdly, the right to be confronted with the witnesses that testify against him. Fourthly, the right to obtain witnesses in favor of the accused. And finally, the right to assistance of counsel for defense in court.
The seventh amendment grants people the right to a trial by jury in certain types of civil cases. It is important to note that since this is the United States Constitution, this subject only applies to federal civil cases. This is why most civil cases don’t have a jury, because they are in state court.
The eighth amendment protects the people from the use of excessive fines, excessive bail, and cruel or unusual punishment.
The ninth amendment reinstates that the constitution should not be used to construe or deny people from the rights they are given in the constitution.
The tenth amendment is straight-forward. It states that the powers not delegated (or prohibited) by the Constitution are granted to the State or the people.
If you ever have reason to believe that you have been denied one of these rights, it is important that you seek legal guidance immediately. Countless individuals gave their lives to protect these rights, and it is your duty as an American to ensure that these rights are upheld. Contact Lopez & Humphries, P.A. for experienced legal representation in the Central Florida area.