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You know you've been tempted to do it - to toss your jury summons in the garbage and pretend it got lost in the mail. Besides, what's the worst that can happen? It's not like missing jury duty is a crime...or is it?
Anyone who has seen an episode of Law and Order, NCIS—or any other police drama—has heard a police officer recite: "You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you desire an attorney and cannot afford one, an attorney will be obtained for you before police questioning." These statements, or similar advisories, are generally known as “Miranda Rights.” But what exactly are Miranda Rights and what are they designed to protect?
The framers of the U.S. Constitution knew a thing or two about government abuse through the legal system. When they wrote the Constitution, they made sure it established our system of government, but also protected each citizen from that same government. These protections are guaranteed through amendments to the Constitution known as the Bill of Rights. Protection from the legal system is granted through the 6th Amendment, known as the right to a speedy trial and an impartial jury.
Fans of Law and Order and other popular crime dramas might be familiar with a common storyline—illegal search and seizure. But do you actually know the particulars regarding your Fourth Amendment rights? This handy primer gives you an overview of the search warrant process, including your right to refuse a search, when a warrant is not required and what to do if the police show up at your doorstep.
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