The bill of rights represents the fundamental civil rights of Americans. The US constitution gives many liberties to the people. The first ten amendments and the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution reveal about most of these rights. The Supreme court has also recognized certain fundamental rights.
You should be aware that no American civil rights are absolute and the government has the power to limit your freedom under certain circumstances. For example, if you have committed a crime, or broken the law.
Knowing your civil rights in the US
We at LawTally have summarized, the most important civil rights in the US, you should be aware of:
- Freedom of expression
The bill of rights prohibits government interference in freedom of expression. You are entitled to free speech, free press, as well as the freedom to assemble under this right. You are also free to petition the government.
- Freedom of religion
The first amendment of the US constitution prohibits government interference in your freedom of faith. Hence, you are free to practice any religion of your choice or no religion at all.
- Right to keep and bear arms
The second amendment of the US constitution and the Supreme court grant you the right to have weapons and to use them for legal purposes. You should know that this right is not unlimited as the federal, state, and local governments exercise gun control laws for public safety.
- Rights for people dealing with law enforcement and facing criminal charges
American civil rights, as stated in the fourth, fifth, and sixth and eighth amendments, give several liberties to people facing criminal charges or dealing with law enforcement. These include the right to not testify against self and to remain silent, freedom from unreasonable searches as well as seizures, and the right to counsel.
If a defendant cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the person also has the right to get a court-appointed attorney. People have the right to speedy trial and trial by jury. Criminal defendants can cross-examine witnesses against them and also present their witnesses. Other rights include protection from double jeopardy and protection from cruel and unusual punishment.
- Protection of liberty
The fourteenth amendment states that before the federal or state government takes away people’s life, liberty, or property, a due process of law is mandatory. The Supreme court has also identified the inherent rights of Americans, which include the right to travel between states, the right to marry and parent children, right to privacy, and freedom of association.
- Civil liberties given by states
States have to abide by the civil rights provided by the bill of rights. Additionally, some states grant explicit privacy protections to people. For example, some state constitutions guarantee equal rights for women.
Consider taking guidance from an experienced Civil Rights Lawyer
Do you think your constitutional rights have been violated? You can seek counsel from a reputed civil rights lawyer. Have you been charged with a civil rights case? The top rated lawyers at LawTally can help you.