Category Archives: Rights

1 year ago Laws , Rights , Safety

The Medical Ethics of Informed Consent

Most medical professionals take an oath before they begin practicing to promise to not do any further harm to their patients. Medical ethics is crucial to maintain an effective and helpful health care system. While sometimes deciding what the ethical choice may be, health care professionals must work to provide the best treatment for their patients. The ethical choice also might differ depending on which physician you ask. Many ethicists agree on four basic values to keep in mind when deciding on a medical ethics choice, which are  autonomy, justice, beneficence, and nonmaleficence. They must also look outside of their own personal values and keep in mind the values and wishes of patient’s and their families. 

Medical ethics ensures that physicians will make choices in good conscience. In many medical cases and emergencies, a patient is not able to make choices for themselves, leaving their doctor to make decisions for them, keeping in mind what’s in their best interests. One of the most important reasons to uphold medical ethics is to strengthen the doctor-patient relationship. A strong doctor-patient relationship can allow a doctor to provide better care for their patients. 

Arguably the most important part of the doctor-patient relationship is the need for a patient to be able to trust their doctor. A patient’s trust in their physician is typically associated with better outcomes from treatment. Trust is needed for patients to effectively address their needs to their doctor, as well as for their doctor to listen to these concerns. Aside from medical results, it’s also important for everyone to feel well-cared for when they seek medical treatment. All patients have the need to feel comfortable receiving care from any medical professional. Trust is the foundation in any relationship, for the one you have with your doctor to the one you have with a motor vehicle accident lawyer.  

What is informed consent?

Informed consent is a necessary part of medical ethics. It’s also an important part of maintaining a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Informed consent involves a healthcare provider explaining the details of treatment, including the risks and benefits to their patients. When patients are given adequate information about their care, they’re able to make decisions for themselves if they’d like to go through with that treatment, consider other options, or turn town treatment altogether. In most cases, typically excluding emergency situations, informed consent is the law and permission must be given to provide treatment. 

Importance of Informed Consent 

Anyone without medical education can’t make well-informed decisions about their treatment on their own and require their doctor to aid them with this. Patients are often given the choice to either receive medical treatment or deny it. Minors are not generally considered to be able to make decisions regarding their medical care, but doctors still have a responsibility to keep informed about what their treatment entails. Those who aren’t able to make decisions for themselves will often have a court-appointed proxy who can act on their behalf to make it for them. When a person isn’t able to give consent, it’s especially important for doctors to act ethically.  

Informed consent is needed most times a patient receives care, such as routine blood tests. While many medical procedures can save lives, they can also be extremely difficult and have the chance of reducing the quality of life for patients. For example, if a patient has a terminal illness, but treatment can be provided that might make the remainder of their life painful or difficult, they might understandably want to turn it down. Patients have autonomy and a right to be able to choose what happens to their bodies, and the only way they can properly do this is with the guidance of their physician. If doctors alone were able to make these life-altering decisions for their patients, people would often be subjected to pain and hardships against their will. 

Without informed consent, a patient can’t fully be able to trust their physician. Communication needs to be open for a patient to truly receive proper care. Doctors also need to understand the importance of transparency in their conversations with patients. Information regarding treatment should be unbiased to allow patients to decide what is best for them. When getting consent, it’s important for a physician to truly care about educating patients and respecting them, rather than convincing them to hand over their signature. Medical ethics play a heavy role in informed consent when doctors need to act according to what their patients want, not what they would want if they were in this situation.

1 year ago Rights , Safety

Could Poor Hygiene and Body Odor Fall Under Wrongful Termination?

Have you ever seen an episode of The Office? This iconic TV show often portrays how personalities clash in the workplace.

When employees congregate, it’s almost inevitable that some won’t get along. What happens when a co-worker’s poor hygiene or odor begins affecting your productivity? How should the office respond?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about body odors in the office.

Identifying Poor Hygiene Problems

Workplaces should be safe and inviting for all employees. When one employee’s bad breath or body odor offends another, what action should get taken?

Is there a body odor workplace law to seek advice from? Currently, there’s not.

The best course of action for an employee is to report the situation to their HR manager.

Wrongful Termination, Discrimination, and Harassment Concerns

HR managers must remain sensitive when dealing with these situations. Why?

Not all offending smells are a result of poor hygiene. Some odors are a symptom of a disability, which means they’re protected under law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act would protect an employee in this situation. HR would need to provide accommodations for the disability.

The main point is to distinguish where the offensive odor is stemming from. here are a few examples of what’s protected and what’s not:

  • Odors from unwashed clothes: Not protected
  • Odors caused by medications: Protected
  • Odors caused by not wearing deodorant: Not protected
  • Odors caused by medical conditions: Protected

A wrongful discrimination suit could arise if the employee gets fired for their odor.

It’s also illegal to create a hostile work environment by being passive-aggressive. Never try to placate employees by being overt with air fresheners.

Possible HR Solutions

So, what are some potential solutions for HR when informed about smelly coworkers?

First, identify what’s causing the problem. If personal hygiene is the problem, then refer to your company’s dress code policy. If the odor is disability related, then you’ll need to seek other options.

Work with the employee to create a reasonable accommodation. The solution may include a work-at-home office, or it could involve using perfumes.

How Can I Manage My Symptoms?

Have you ever gotten called out for being one of those smelly people at the office? Such labels can feel very demoralizing and hurtful.

If it’s hygiene-related, then you’ll have to work to correct the problem. Here are a few solutions:

  • Try a new, scented laundry detergent
  • Start using deodorant, cologne, or perfume
  • Shop these e-liquids to reduce the smell of second-hand smoke
  • Work on improving your self-care habits

Understand your rights when a disability is causing the problem. Consider what accommodations would work for you, and discuss them with your employer.

Know Your Rights and Boundaries

Poor hygiene, body odors, and other social faux pas are a sensitive topic to approach in the workplace. Employees need to know their rights, and HR needs to know how to cope with these issues.

Have you ever experienced working with someone with poor personal hygiene? On the flip side, do you suffer from a disability that causes undesirable odors? Tell us your stories by leaving a comment in the box below.


The Ultimate History of Immigration in the U.S. Timeline

The U.S. is known to be one of the most common destinations of immigrants over the years. In 2019, the laws of immigration in the U.S. state that a legal U.S. citizen must fund foreign citizens seeking to immigrate into the country. The immigrant must also have an approved petition before any further applications.

To become a lawful U.S. resident, the immigrant must obtain the immigration visa before packing their bags. However, this wasn’t the case in the 1870s when immigration into the U.S. first started. The conditions leading to immigration were quite different from today, and so was the process of immigrating.

Do you know the complete history of U.S. immigration? Find out in this comprehensive history of immigration in the U.S. timeline.

In 1790: The Naturalization Act

Unlike today, in the year 1790, immigrants were given a law that requested them to apply for citizenship and stay in their country one year after the application. Once they did that, they could go into the U.S. and remain there at least two years without leaving the country.

As for those allowed to apply for citizenship, only white people of “good character” could apply. Those were the requirements for getting U.S. Citizenship. Nonwhite persons who didn’t get to receive citizenship would be denied opportunities for voting and other constitutional securities.

Later in August same year, the U.S. government ran its first census. Tally resulted in 3.9 million residents, with one in five Americans being of African background.

In 1815 to 1875: Immigration of the Irish and Germans

After the war of 1812, peace was finally established between the British and Americans in the year 1815. After this, immigration by the Irish into the U.S. drastically grew. Between 1820 and 1860 the Irish (who were mostly of Catholic denomination), totaled to a third of all immigrants in the U.S.

Germans also made their move at a similar time to join residents in the United States. Some of these Germans were moving into the Midwest to buy farms.

Unfortunately, due to their method of migration, many new immigrants could arrive feeling unwell, or worse – dying. As they traveled through the Atlantic Ocean by ship, they got to experience cramped conditions and climate that didn’t favor their general health.

All these led to Congress passing legislation through the Steerage Act of 1819, which had two major requirements:

  1. Sustenance rule where all ships must have better conditions for the immigrants arriving in the United States. This protected immigrants from illnesses and ensured they were comfortable during their journey into the country.
  2. Congress established a law where ship captains would report, or instead give information on passenger’s demographic and destinations.

In 1849, the worst happened to immigrants when a party known as the Know-Nothing-Party formed. The reason behind this formation was as a result of the backlash after noting the increasing number of Germans migrating into the United States.

After the civil war, a few states passed new immigration laws in 1875. In the same year, the Supreme Court declared the federal government the entity for enforcing immigration laws.

Chinese Exclusion Act

In 1880, Americans began a rapid period of urbanization and industrialization. The same year, a second immigration wave began.

Forty years from then, over 20 million immigrants moved into the country from Eastern, Southern, and Central Europe. This tally includes 2 million Jews and about 4 million Italians who came to work in factories and settle in main cities like New York.

Around the 1850s, a substantial number of Chinese had immigrated into the U.S. In 1882, the Chinese got unlucky when they were barred from getting into the United States. This was done by passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act that year.

Most of the Chinese immigrants worked in the gold mines, built railways, worked in cloth factories, and took part in agricultural jobs. With time, these laborers became quite successful in the United States. This led to Americans becoming anti-Chinese; hence the Act.

This Act is first one to impose extensive constraints on a specific immigrant group.

The Immigration Act of 1891

In 1891, the Immigration Act was further crafted to exclude more immigrants into the country, some of which include:

  • Sick people or the diseased
  • Polygamists
  • Convicted criminals

It’s in 1891 when the federal government of the United States created the office of immigration. This office was to be used to coordinate immigration laws and ensure all immigrants adhere. Immigration inspectors were stationed at main ports of entry in the U.S. to process each immigrant who tries to get into the country.

The first immigration station opened in January 1892 in the New York Harbor in Ellis Island.

The U.S. & Japanese Sign Gentleman’s Agreement in 1907

The Japanese immigrants settled in America and began to work at farming jobs. White workers would lose their jobs, and their wages cut. This became a worry to the government, leading them to sign the Gentleman’s agreement in 1907.

This agreement gave the Japanese government the mandate to restrict Japanese immigrants into the U.S. The restriction was limited to business people and professionals. This way, the white workers would keep their jobs and have better wages.

World War Bore Restrictions from 1917

More immigration restrictions were enacted following America’s involvement in World War I. The immigration act stated that literacy requirements were to be considered for all immigrants into the States. The Act then excluded Asian immigrants.

In 1924, the federal government established the U.S. Border Patrol to capture illegal immigrants (mainly Asians and Chinese) trying to enter America through the Canadian and Mexican borders.

World War II brought about labor shortages which prompted the government to allow in Mexican agricultural workers into the country through the Bracero Program in 1942.

Quota System Ends

In 1965, the immigration act and Nationality Act refurbished the American immigration system ending enacted laws in the 1920s, which favored specific racial and ethnic groups.

Later in 1986, President Reagan signed the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, which gave pardon to over 3 million legal immigrants living in the U.S.

Child Dreamers and Terrorist Immigrants

In 2001, President Barrack Obama signed an Act known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It helps some dreamers avoid deportation.

Unfortunately, the Act does not help them get citizenship. In 2012, President Donald Trump issued executive orders to prevent travel and immigration of people from selected Muslim countries. They include Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria.

This move is meant to help protect the country from terrorist entries. Find out more about eligibility.

History of Immigration in the U.S. Timeline

From the year 1875 to 2001, the history of immigration in the U.S. timeline has been through tremendous changes. They affect both adults, and child dreamers.

The federal government has tried to maintain favorable conditions for immigrants to apply for their immigration visas while also trying to protect the livelihood of current U.S. citizens

Do you have any questions about current immigration laws or other legal matters? View our other articles on the topic to learn more.

1 year ago Bail Bonds , Rights

Knowing Your Rights: What is a Bail Bond?

You know the expression “out on bail,” but do you know how it works?

Bail bonds are a promise that the person released from jail appear for their court date. They require a lump sum of cash, and most Americans post bail using a bail bond company.

What is a bail bond exactly and how does the process work? Keep reading to learn more about bail bonds in the United States.

What You Need to Know About Bail

When the police arrest a person for a crime, they hold them in jail until one of two things happens:

  • They appear in court and release them freely
  • They get out on recognizance bail

Bail is the set amount of money required to secure a criminal defendant’s release with the promise that they will appear in court for future court dates. The money stays with the court, and the payee gets it back when the defendant fulfills their obligations.

The judge assigned to the case sets the bail. Every judge uses their own experience combined with state regulation to set bail. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that om the 75 larges U.S. counties, the average bail for a felony charge was $55,400 in 2009.

No national data covers misdemeanor data. However, people charged with misdemeanors are more likely to be released on recognizance, which means they do not need to pay but do need to attend court. A report from New York City showed that 23 percent of misdemeanors received a bail offer.

Even those can be several thousand dollars.

Given that 40 percent of American adults cannot afford a $400 emergency expense, it stands to reason that the justice system opened up room for a way to pay bail when the defendant or their family doesn’t have the cash.

Because affordable bail bonds are increasingly rare, services step in to help those who can’t afford bail. Those services are bail bondsmen, and you’ll learn more about them later.

What is a Bail Bond?

A bail bond is a written document in exchange for relative freedom.

It works like this:

A judge grants a defendant release on the condition of meeting bail. The defendant then pays the bail to the court and agrees to the conditions.

Because bail is often more than the average person has in their bank account, they may choose to work with a bail bond company or a bail bondsman. The bond company puts up the money on behalf of the defendant with the agreement that the defendant upholds their obligations with the court.

In exchange for the service, the bail bond company will ask for a percentage of bail as a fee. They may also ask for collateral or a statement of creditworthiness to ensure they receive the rest of the bail if you don’t meet your obligations.

The most common type of bail bond is a surety bail bond. However, there are also two sub-types of bonds called federal bonds and immigration bonds.

Federal Bail Bonds

Federal bail bonds refer to bail bonds provided to defendants charged with federal crimes in federal courts.

These are less easy to find not because federal charges are rare but because federal charges come with more conditions.

For example, someone charged with a federal crime may need to agree to:

  • Appearing at all court dates
  • Regular drug testing
  • Restricted travel
  • Limited business activities

Failing to meet any of these conditions resulted in the forfeit of the bail bond, which makes issuing a bond riskier for agencies.

Immigration Bonds

Immigration bonds are a sub-type of federal bonds. The system uses these in federal immigration cases to release a defendant from an immigration detention facility.

Many bail bondsmen who offer immigration bonds specialize in immigration cases. They also tend to charge higher fees because of the perceived risk of the defendant failing to meet their legal obligations.

Immigration bail bonds also come in two forms: delivery bonds and voluntary departure bonds.

A delivery bond works like a surety bond. It guarantees the defendant will show up in court. A voluntary departure bond comes with the condition that the defendant leaves the U.S. on their own by a specific date or they forfeit the bond.

How You Get Your Money Back

So how do bail bonds work in practice?

Once you pay the court, you have two options: fulfill the terms requested or skip them.

If you appear for court and meet all other conditions, the court dissolves the bail bond. Once terminated, the court returns the money. If you use a bail bondsman, then the money goes back to the bail bond.

They then keep their fee as a profit. As a result, the defendant – or whoever paid the bondsman – won’t get any money back.

What happens if you do not meet the bail conditions?

The court will require that the remaining bail be paid, and it keeps the money. If you use a bail bondsman, they use the collateral your provided to pay the court. The bail bondsman doesn’t profit when they need to pay the court.

You Need to Pay in Cash if You Want a Refund

The only way the defendant gets a refund is if they pay the court in cash from their own pocket.

When you pay in cash – not through a bail bondsman – you then receive a complete refund at the end of the case. You get the money back regardless of whether the jury convicts you of the charges.

Bail Gets You Out of Jail

What is a bail bond?

Judges grant bail bonds to allow you to get out and go about your life while you await trial. However, bail amounts tend to be beyond the reach of the average person.

Because bail requires you to come up with a large amount of cash, many people turn to bail bondsmen. These services post your bond for a fee, and they require collateral in case you don’t meet the conditions of your bail.

The only way to get a refund on your bail is to pay it in cash on your own and meet all the requirements set by the judge.

Were you charged with a crime? A lawyer will work to help get you affordable bail. Click here to search for a lawyer in your area.

1 year ago Rights , Laws

What You Need To Know About Student Rights Litigation

As students, you have the right to academic freedom, the right to self-expression and the right to feel safe and secure on the premises of the school. These rights, among many others are vital to the growth and well-being of everyone in the academic arena.

However, sometimes the students’ rights are pushed aside and neglected. This should never be the case, especially when the school is one of the places where the youth is being molded to become the best and most effective versions of themselves for the future of society.

In law, we have what’s called Student Rights Litigation. This is a particular and specific area of specialty that some lawyers and law firms practice.

These student rights stem from the wider and more specific right of every person called due process. Due process is embodied in our Federal Constitution which is specifically found in the Fifth Amendment. The Constitution says that “no one shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law”.

To put it simply, due process protects the rights of the citizens, in this case the students. This due process clause commands that everybody in all cases shall be given a chance to be heard and have an equal standing with regard to the strict rules of procedure.

Litigation takes place when the school, college or university fails to give the student complainant and student defendant a chance at a fair en banc trial. As a result, the fundamental right to due process of the students is violated.

In student rights litigation, the legal counsels deal with cases of grade appeals, probation appeals, on-campus bullying, drug possession, sexual abuse or harassment, discrimination, and many others.

If you, a family member or a friend have experienced a partial and unjust trial at school, the best thing to do is to make use of the services of a seasoned lawyer so that he or she can effectively defend you and your right as a student and as a citizen of the country.

In choosing a lawyer to represent you in court, make sure to pick a lawyer who has a long experience in litigation like Title IX Attorneys. Having lengthy experience gives the lawyer the advantage of having been exposed to the many complex and unusual circumstances of cases similar to yours.

Moreover, pick a lawyer based on expertise. A taxation lawyer and a student rights lawyer may both be lawyers in the eyes of the law, but they have a very different set of skills and experiences. Choose a lawyer who specializes in student rights litigation to increase your chances of winning the case.  However, there are situations when you don’t need to look for a decent lawyer to get the needed information. For example, if you are writing a law paper, you can just read up some samples and guides on the Pro-Papers.

If you do not know any student rights litigation lawyers in your area, consider asking your friends and relatives for good recommendations. If they know one, you can start from there, but do not limit your options just yet. The internet is a rich source of information about lawyers and law firms who you can consult with. Choose wisely because the skill and knowledge of the lawyer you hire is vital to your case.

2 years ago Safety , Rights

DataStreet – Safety Laws For Construction Workers

What are the safety laws for construction workers? There are several safety measures which have been put in place for construction workers in order to reduce the chances of construction accidents. The different types for construction jobs will require different safety measures. For instance, if you are involved in high rise building, you need to be secured to avoid falls. Trench workers need to adhere to safety measures which can protect them against collapsing trenches. For the case of electrical works, they should as well adhere to safety measures to avoid electrical shocks. Putting together a quality T&M contract can ensure proper measures are followed and some measures are determined by the type of construction job you are involved. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), has ten common standards for safety laws for construction workers. In this article we will discuss five of the common standards.

Safety Laws For Construction Workers

Scaffolding Laws

When scaffolds are used, they should be well secured to avoid injuries due to falls. Ensure you remove unstable objects such as boxes and loose bricks before you erect a scaffold. When mounting the scaffolds, they should be erected when supervised by a competent personal. There are several safety measures which should be taken at all times to avoid injuries associated with scaffolding.

Fall Protection

In a construction site, falls contribute to a lot of injuries each year. In most cases, they involve falls from elevated surfaces such as ladders and high construction sites. There are several safety measures which can be put into place to protect against the falls. They include use of covers, safety nets, fall arrest systems and restraints which can protect against falls. Some of the solutions to such form of injuries include prevention measures such as using aerial lifts which can provide safe working environments.

Guardrails should be provided to avoid the falls. Safety net systems can act as barriers which can protect you against possible falls. All ladders should be well secured before you can start using them in your construction site. To avoid injuries along stair ways, they should have guard rails to avoid slip and fall.


There are cases where trenches have fallen which leads to fatal accidents. Some of the safety measures which can be employed include avoiding unprotected trenches. A registered professional engineer should be employed to supervise trench construction. There are several trench safety measures; they should be adhered to so that you can avoid cases where you can end up having fatalities in your trench construction site.

Head Protection

If workers are an area where there is risk of objects falling, then they should all wear protective hats. They should as well have eye and ear protection to avoid cases where toxic substances or too much noise can affect them. In each construction site, a safety checklist should be carried out to ensure all workers adhere to the regulations to avoid the adverse effects associated with the falls.

Foot Protection

In a work environment, proper footwear should be worn at all times to avoid possible injury. The worker should as well have hand as well as eye protection. To achieve the best results, you need to assess the work environment before you come up with the best protective gear which can keep your workers protected.

What are safety laws for construction workers? The above are some of the factors you need to take into consideration so that you can adhere with the safety laws in a construction site. OSHA outlines regulations construction companies need to follow in order to ensure the safety of their employees.

2 years ago Rights

Rights And Responsibilities Of Movers

In this article, we will discuss the rights and responsibilities of moving companies in case you are planning to relocate. In fact, it is extremely important to understand your rights as well as responsibilities while moving to ensure that you have a seamless moving experience.

Responsibility Of The Mover And The Consumer

It is the responsibility of your mover to provide you with a printed copy prepared by the FHA (Federal Highway Administration). The pamphlet consists of rules that you must know for safeguarding yourself while moving. It is imperative for both the mover and the consumer to comply with such restrictions.
Your accountability as a consumer commences with the proper selection of an experienced mover while making sure that you are aware of the conditions and terms
Rights And Responsibilities Of Movers

of the agreement, and what to do in case a problem comes up.
Whether you’re moving hangers or pianos, the mover is responsible for responding to all your queries and also supplying you written info, the contact number and the title of the organization, as well as in-depth procedures to submit any query. Written information also needs to incorporate the binding estimations.
The existing costs might surpass the estimate, and therefore, the consumers should be aware of the fact that any non-binding estimates might not be correct. You must likewise consider the verification of the mover since most of them do not have any personal truck and are responsible for arranging the transport.

Role Played By Household Goods Broker

According to the pamphlet, no household goods broker must signify itself as a mover, and the actions of these are restricted to obtaining a certified mover to supply your transport. Whatever the case, it is best to request the mover regarding the shipping dates as well as the availability of confirmed pickup.

Household goods broker agents aren’t accountable for any loss or damage of the items and they are also not certified to offer estimations for the movers. Although you may be offered an estimate from time to time by a household goods agent, it might not be binding on the specific mover due to the fact that you need to pay for the mover’s charges.

What To Do In Case Of Any Loss Or Damage

When it comes to the movers, make sure to know their obligation for loss or damage, and you may also ask for an explanation of the difference between valuation and insurance. All movers are required to provide a dispute settlement plan to the consumers as an alternative to the damage claims.

Verification Of The Documents

Take care in case a mover simply offers you partial documents for your signature. Make it a point to verify the paperwork to see whether it is complete prior to signing them. Mover’s paperwork ought to include all pertinent details required to figure out the final expenses for the services performed by the mover, which includes standard delivery information as well.

You have got the right to ask for a re-weigh of the cargo at your exclusive discretion by being present on the spot every time your shipping is weighed. According to the requirements, the mover needs to supply a copy of a tariff provision containing the carrier’s rates, guidelines as well as charges which control your shipping delivery.

According to the FHA (Federal Highway Administration), you need to get a minimum of three quotes from different movers out there. When you’re moving in Phoenix, you also have the right to file a claim with the mover to recuperate cash in case he causes loss or harm to your property.

The Payment Procedure

Finally, ensure that you confirm with the mover regarding the payment procedure provided you accept to move under a non-binding estimation. It can be in the form of cash, certified check money order, cashier’s check, or even credit card. Also, keep in mind that you need to do all these arrangements on paper. Let us hope that this post on the rights and responsibilities of movers will come of use to you in case you are planning to move in the upcoming days.

In Conclusion

When hiring a mover, it’s important to know the certain rights and responsibilities of movers to ensure that you’re getting all of the services agreed upon. It’s critical to familiarize yourself with the contents from the Federal Highway Administration about any regulations, and ensure that the mover that you’re working with is credible. You should know what steps to take if there were to be any loss or damage, verify documents, and confirm with the mover in regards to the payment procedure.

2 years ago Laws , Rights

3 of The Most Frequently Violated Rights of the Accused

Being accused of a crime can be an awful experience, especially if the charges being levelled against you are unfair or based on bad investigative work. Now is not the time to be self-pitying, however. You need to stay sharp if you want to beat these charges! That starts with knowing exactly what your rights are, and how you might accidentally be stripped of them by your own actions.

An accusation against you, or even your arrest, does not carry the weight of a conviction. You are considered innocent until your guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. To enforce these civil liberties, the US Constitution has several provisions that give rights to accused persons like yourself. By understanding what they are, and how they are exercised, you may be able to save yourself from an unjust conviction!

1. The right to remain silent

Upon arrest, the apprehending police officer is required to read to you four constitutional rights (referred to as the Miranda Rights). The right to remain silent is the first one, and for good reason. This right enforces the principle that you cannot be forced to incriminate or provide testimony against yourself.The right to remain silent is a direct offshoot of the self-incrimination clause in the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

You must declare that you are using this right as of the recent decision Salinas v. Texas. Simply remaining silent is not enough to invoke your rights. Say “I am choosing to exercise my right to remain silent”. Then, say nothing until you speak to your lawyer. You can invoke this right even during police interrogation, and it will have to be ceased.

Interrogation can only resume after the police officers have ‘scrupulously honored’ your rights as the accused. This is determined mainly by the length of time between the termination of the first interrogation, the commencement of the second, and the rereading of the Miranda warnings.

2. The right to be represented by counsel

You have the right to be represented by counsel. If you can’t afford legal counsel, the state is bound to give you one. This is one of the rights read in the Miranda Warnings.

If you can, you should choose a firm that is local and has a lot of experience with the type of law you need. If you live in Las Vegas, for example, and you need lawyers who know how to handle DUIs, you would come across firms like  Las Vegas Defense Group during your search. Make sure you take advantage of a complete consultation before agreeing to representation, no matter who you choose.

During the preliminary stage, your lawyer will help you understand your rights and prepare for early court appearances. If the case gets past the preliminary stage, your lawyer will start preparing evidence for a trial.

Exercising this right is a necessity, because a lawyer has more knowledge, not only of the law, but of how the courts process cases and complaints. The courts can be very strict and mistakes caused by mere ignorance are not always forgiven.

3. The right to compel a witness to testify on your behalf

During trial,  you as the accused have the right to gather favorable witnesses and compel those witnesses to provide testimony and/or material evidence on court. This right can be most easily lost if you just fail to take advantage of it, or are wrongfully convinced that their testimony shouldn’t be used.

You should compel witnesses that can support your side, even if you’re worried that it will be inconvenient for that person to appear. This is about your freedom, after all! It is the courts that will enforce this right. The courts will send subpoenas, and the recipients are required to appear on the specified date and time. If they fail to show, bench warrants can be issued. Such issuances call for their immediate arrest.

You are given this right to effectively minimize prejudice against you.


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