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The Three Constitutional Amendments Every US Citizen Should Know

Three Constitutional Amendments Every American Should Know - Jon ArtzEvery US citizen should know these three constitutional amendments. Think you know what they are?

The Fourth Amendment. Unreasonable search and seizure.

The exact wording of the Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

What it means in the real world:

This means that a government agent, in most cases, a police officer, is only allowed to search or seize an individual or his property if he has one of three things:

  1. a valid search warrant
  2. a valid arrest warrant
  3. probable cause to believe that an individual has committed a crime

Usually, when it comes to DUI, the probable cause occurs when the officer sees a person operating a vehicle and violating basic traffic safety laws i.e. the vehicle is swerving or not using headlights or turning signals.

However, there are times when, after reviewing the facts of the case, an experienced DUI attorney can argue based on evidence that there was no probable cause to pull over the vehicle. This is a tactic that has been used by defense attorneys when the defendant was arrested at a DUI checkpoint, for example.

The Sixth Amendment. Assistance of counsel.

The exact wording of the Sixth Amendment:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

What it means in the real world:

This means that if you cannot afford your own defense lawyer, one may be appointed to you at the government’s expense.

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from the Sixth Amendment. However, as you can see there are many other parts to it. Here are the other important points you should know.

  1. A speedy trial: Everyone knows the courts can be slow, but you do have a right to have your case go to trial in a timely manner.
  2. Impartial jury: This is why it can be difficult to select a jury for high profile criminal cases. When almost everyone in the state or country has heard of a person’s alleged crimes, they tend to form opinions on those alleged crimes / criminals, making them unable to be part of an impartial jury.
  3. Obtaining witnesses: This simply means you have a right, just like the prosecution, to have people come up and state their side as a witness in your defense.

On the point of witnesses, oftentimes, in the case of DUIs, a DUI attorney has solid relationships with people who can act as witnesses on your behalf. For example, expert laboratory analysts who can explain their findings of improper processing procedures performed on your blood sample in the police department lab.

The Eighth Amendment. Cruel and Unusual punishment.

The exact wording of the Eighth Amendment:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

What it means in the real world:

It’s straightforward. It’s rare that the excessive bail and fines argument is fought or won in court, although it has happened. Mostly, people are aware of the latter part of the amendment regarding cruel and unusual punishment. Most often this portion is brought up in modern cases where there is evidence that police officers or guards mistreated a person to the point where it can be fought as cruel and unusual punishment.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles, it’s best to hire an experienced DUI attorney who knows how to fight your case.

The fastest way to contact me is to give me a call at 310-820-1315. Otherwise fill out the form on my website.  I’ll get back to you right away, it’s completely confidential, and there’s no obligation.

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