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Know Your Constitutional Rights

The 5th and 6th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee your right to remain silent during and your right to a lawyer before questioning by government authorities. Do not feel ashamed to avail yourself of these important rights. Do not bend to pressure to waive them. History has proven that even informal comments made to well-meaning government officials are often wrongly reported and even twisted to fit the government's view of a simple set of facts. If you avail yourself of your right to remain silent until you talk to a lawyer, you can avoid these and other serious problems. -McCracken Poston

Bill of Rights

1st Amendment - Provides for Freedom of speech, and prohibits the Government from getting involved state-supported religion.

2nd Amendment - Guarantees the right to bear arms.

4th Amendment - Guarantees the right to be protected from unlawful searches and seizures by the Government.

5th Amendment - Provides a number of important protections for those accused of crimes, including requiring the use of an indictment in all trials for capital crimes; protection against "deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law"; and protection against the taking of private property of public use without just compensation. Many cases have been decided on the meaning of the phrase "due process."

6th Amendment - The right to a speedy and public trial, and the right to have legal counsel (The Government always has legal counsel - either a local Solicitor, the District Attorney or a United States Attorney).

7th Amendment - Guarantees the right to a trial by jury.

8th Amendment - Prohibits excessive bail and "cruel and unusual punishment".

10th Amendment - Gives the states powers not delegated to the federal government, nor prohibited by them, like the right to tax state residents. This is supposed to guarantee the "limitations" of a large federal government.

13th Amendment - Prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude.

14th Amendment - Guarantees "equal protection under the law" and "due process under the law" - This provision was used to argue many civil rights cases.

15th Amendment - The right to vote shall not be abridged based on account of "race, creed or previous condition of servitude".

17th Amendment - Sets U.S. Senators' terms to six years and their number to two per state.

19th Amendment - Gives women the right to vote.

22nd Amendment - Limits the term of the president to two terms (each term is 4 years)

26th Amendment - Gives the right to vote to those 18 years old and older.


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