As an American citizen, you enjoy a variety of rights that simply don’t exist in some other countries. We’ve seen instances where common people are locked up in foreign countries for engaging in acts that are Constitutionally protected in the U.S. Of course, there are likely many things we can’t do in America that are allowed in other countries. Have you ever asked yourself what are some of the most important rights Americans enjoy? This guide will help.

How Many Important Rights Are There?

If you’re wondering how many rights American citizens have, you’re in for a long research session. That’s because the Constitution is quite a lengthy document. There have been 27 Amendments added to the Constitution — each conveying one or multiple rights. The Supreme Court has also clarified countless privileges over the years. Additionally, your rights can differ based on jurisdictional borders. However, the following are some of the most important rights enjoyed by all Americans.

Basic Rights

The following are basic rights that we often enjoy without even thinking about them. They’re typically protected at all costs. They’re so ingrained in our society that nearly everyone recognizes when they’re being violated.

  • The Right to Free Speech: As long as the words you’re saying aren’t breaking the law (e.g., libel, slander, defamation), the government cannot punish you for engaging in speech.
  • The Right to Privacy: While not expressly stated in the Constitution, various Amendments touch on the right to privacy. Supreme Court cases have upheld this right. As long as you’re not breaking the law, you have the right to privacy in your life.
  • The Right to Equal Protection Under the Law: The Constitution says that every American deserves equal protection under the law. This is why statutes allowing segregation and marital inequality do not hold up in court.

Rights Within the Criminal Justice System

If you’re suspected of a crime, there are certain rights you must take very seriously. Unfortunately, many people don’t fully understand these rights. That’s how so many individuals — including innocent folks — find themselves facing criminal prosecution. If you fall into this category — or worry you may be charged — make sure you understand these rights:

  • The Right to Remain Silent: If you’re arrested by police — or even called in for questioning — you do not have to speak. They cannot force you to speak before an arrest or even at your trial. If you’re accused of a crime, keep your mouth closed at all costs until you speak with an attorney.
  • Protection From Unreasonable Searches and Seizures: Police have a right to search citizen properties in certain circumstances. However, there are strict laws that dictate when this is appropriate. You cannot be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • The Right to an Attorney: You have the right to an attorney in a court of law. In fact, this right is so important that you’ll be granted a defense lawyer if you can’t afford one. However, these public servants are often overworked. Hire a private Delaware criminal defense attorney

The Right to Self-Defense

The right to self-defense deserves its own section because it essentially equates to a basic human right: self-preservation. If you or a loved one’s life is in danger, every single state recognizes your right to defend yourself. Of course, laws can vary by jurisdiction. For instance, Delaware allows the open carry of firearms so citizens can defend themselves — but the state also has no “Stand Your Ground” law. It’s imperative that you understand your jurisdictional rights to self-defense.

What if Your Rights Are Violated?

While all these rights are granted to American citizens — at least when criminal convictions haven’t removed them — it’s very possible that your rights could be violated. If this happens, it’s important to seek justice for the wrong you’ve experienced. This can look like very different things based on your unique situation. However, speaking with an attorney is a great way to better understand your situation and how to move forward. Contact our law firm today to schedule a consultation. We’ll discuss your most important rights and how to hold those who violate them accountable.