When our country was founded, its supreme law was recorded in a document called a constitution. A national constitution establishes the country’s basic philosophy and structure and acts as the blueprint from which the laws will flow. So the United States Constitution and its subsequent amendments define the scope of governmental power and reserve certain individual rights to the people.

The first 10 amendments, also called the Bill of Rights, contain basic, fundamental rights of individuals on which the government may not impinge. Many of these constitutional rights provide protection to criminal defendants in the criminal justice system. Relatively recently, the US Supreme Court interpreted the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to extend most of these rights beyond just the federal system to criminal defendants in state criminal-justice systems where the vast majority of criminal trials occur.

The basic constitutional rights of the criminal defendant permeate every aspect of the criminal justice process. So, if you have been accused of a crime, whether federal, state or local, then a seasoned criminal-defense attorney can explain these rights to you and help you to fight for them at every step of the way. The classification of a crime reflects its seriousness, so if you face questioning or arrest or are accused of a crime and Finding a Job after a Criminal Conviction, The Death Penalty, then you should consult an experienced attorney as early in the process as possible for help protecting your legal and constitutional rights.

Fundamental Rights

Read the main federal constitutional rights guaranteed to criminal defendants in the United States to promote fair trials. Remember also that the courts and an attorney have refined and interpreted these rights. So, they can advise you about their role in and application to your particular case.

  • The right to due process of law
  • The right to equal protection under the law
  • Right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
  • Right against self-incrimination or force to testify against oneself
  • The right against double jeopardy or trial more than once for the same offense
  • The right to legal counsel
  • Right to a speedy, public trial
  • The right to an impartial jury trial
  • The right to confront witnesses against you
  • Right to call supporting witnesses
  • The right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
  • The prohibition against ex-post facto laws or laws that retroactively criminalize certain acts or increase criminal sanctions
  • Right to be free from excessive fines or excessive bail
  • The right to clear notice of criminal charges
  • The right to a grand jury in federal felony proceedings.


Constitutional protections designed our criminal justice system to provide a criminal defendant with a fair trial. If you face any phase of the process, then consult an experienced attorney as early as possible to enlist an important ally in your quest to protect your legal and constitutional rights.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. So seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.