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Constitutional rights defendants and victims enjoy in Louisiana

While the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of all Americans to enjoy certain freedoms, each state has their own constitution which affords those residing within its borders additional protections. Article I of the Louisiana Constitution is a Declaration of Rights (DOR). The 27 basic rights listed there are ones that all state residents are entitled to.

Section three of the DOR calls for everyone to treated equally, regardless of their gender, political or religious affiliation, culture, age or physical condition. It also prohibits the use of involuntary servitude to include slavery unless it's being ordered as punishment for a crime.

An individual's right to privacy is protected by section five of the DOR. This amendment prohibits law enforcement and others from engaging unreasonable searches and seizures and other invasions of privacy. It also highlights how a police officer seeking a search warrant must take an oath of affirmation that they have probable cause to request it. Documentation must show what they intend to seize and where they'll be searching for it.

Section 13 of the DOR requires law enforcement or prosecutors to advise suspects and defendants of the reason for their arrest or detention. It also affords individuals who are being held in custody the right to speak with an attorney. It affords anyone who is indigent the right to be appointed a lawyer as well.

Prosecutors are prohibited from trying a defendant twice for the same crime under section 15 of the DOR. A suspect's presumption of innocence, right to a jury trial and bail are protected by sections 16, 17 and 18 of the same document.

A victim's right to be treated fairly and with respect and dignity, to be notified of pre- and post-conviction hearings and of the release of the accused from jail are all protected under section 25 of the DOR.

Defendants and victims are entitled to certain rights that if violated may allow them to file an appeal or civil lawsuit against the municipality, business or individual who committed the offense. An attorney with decades of experience trying cases locally in Lafayette as well as on a state and federal level is who you'll want representing you if you are accusing someone of having violated your rights.

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