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What are my Sixth Amendment rights?

When you are charged with a crime, it is important to ensure that your rights remain protected. One of the most vital tools for protecting your rights is the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees a number of rights to those who face charges. It is important to remember that when you invoke or protect your Sixth Amendment rights, you are doing so not only for yourself, but for countless others. It is crucially important that you do not allow the legal system to violate your rights, for everyone involved.

In broad terms, the Sixth Amendment is where we derive the right to legal counsel during interrogation, trial, sentencing and even appeals. If you have ever seen a T.V. show where someone shouts that they have the right to an attorney, they are invoking the Sixth Amendment. However, the Sixth Amendment has more specific provisions that are good to know. Among other reasons, violations of your Sixth Amendment rights may invalidate the charges against you, in certain circumstances.

The Sixth Amendment provides you with the right to a trial by jury, as well as several procedural rights. These include the right to confront witnesses against you, call witnesses on your own behalf, testify on your own behalf, the right to refuse to testify on your own behalf and the right to be present at your own trial, among others.

While this is a brief overview of your Sixth Amendment rights, it is well worth doing further detailed research into the provisions of the Sixth Amendment to shore up your own knowledge. Of course, if you have been charged with any kind of crime, an experienced attorney can provide you with your available legal options. After all, your rights are of little use to you if you do not seek to protect them.

Source: Findlaw, "What the Sixth Amendment Guarantees," accessed Feb. 08, 2017

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