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The Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is the term used to collectively designate the first ten amendments to the United States Constution which were ratified on Decemer 15, 1791. The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are intended to protect the rights of liberty and property and guarantee a number of personal freedoms. As well, the Bill of Rights limits government power in judicial and certain other proceedings, as well as reserving specific authority or power to the states and the general public. Originally, the amendments applied only to Federal government. However, most provisions of the Bill of Rights have been determined by the United States Supreme Court to apply to the states by way of the Incorporation Doctrine of the Fourteenth Amendment. As a result, the Bill of Rights plays an important role in Federal law, California law and government.

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(Editor's note: The First Amendment includes what has become known as the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause. The Free Exercise Clause includes the guarantee of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to petition.)

Second Amendment

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

(Editor's note: The Second Amendment includes what has become known as the guarantee of the people to keep and bear arms. The United States Supreme Court decided McDonald v. Chicago and addressed issues related to the Second Amendment.)

Third Amendment

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

(Editor's note: The Third Amendment includes what has become known as the amendment precluding a home or landowner from being required to quarter troops in time of peace, nor in time of war in a manner not prescribed by law. The United States Court of Appeals decided a related issued in Engblom v. Carey and the United States Supreme Court cited to the Third Amendment in Griswold v. Connecticut..)

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(Editor's note: The Fourth Amendment includes what has become known as the amendment which protects the public from unreasonable Searches and Seizures. This area of the law is heavily litigated in California crminal cases where a detention or arrest (seizure of the person) by law enforcement is contested, or the search of property is challenged. In California, Penal Code section 1538.5 is the mechanism for challenging such action by law enforcement officers.)

Fifth Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

(Editor's note: The Fifth Amendment includes what has become known as the Due Process clause, Double Jeopardy clause (freedom from double jeopardy or repeated criminal trials related to the same incident), right against Self Incrimination (a person accused of a crime cannot be compelled to testify against himself or herself in a criminal case), and protections from arbitrary application of eminent domain to take a persons land for government use without "just compensation.")

Sixth Amendment

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process (subpoena power) for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

(Editor's note: The The Fifth Amendment includes what has become known as the right to Trial by jury and other rights guaranteed a person who has been accused of a crime, the Confrontation Clause, right to Speedy Trial, right to Public Trial, right to the assistance of counsel. Several important Sixth Amendment cases have been decided by the United States Supreme Court to include Miranda v. Arizona and Crawford v. Washington.)

Seventh Amendment

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

(Editor's note: The The Fifth Amendment preserves the right to a jury trial in civil cases.)

Eighth Amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

(Editor's note: The The Fifth Amendment includes what has become known as the protection against Excessive Bail for pretrial release in a criminal case and right against Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

Ninth Amendment

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

(Editor's note: The The Fifth Amendment includes what has become known as protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the United States Constitution.)

Tenth Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

(Editor's note: The The Fifth Amendment includes what has become known as the amendment which reserves to the states those powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution.)

Amendments XI through XXVII

Contact The Office

The stakes are high in a California domestic violence case. An arrest for domestic battery, domestic assault, criminal threats or stalking in California may result in actual jail, large fines, mandatory 52 weeek batterer's treatment program, mandatory alcohol education classes, and other punishment. For that reason, it is imperative to have only a qualified criminal defense lawyer handling a domestic violence case from the beginning. If you or someone you know has been or may be accused of domestic violence, we invite you to read the information contained in the Introduction, What to Do First, and Frequently Asked Questions sections of this website and welcome you to call our office and discuss your case with a member of our domestic violence law firm. If you prefer, you may submit a confidential case questionnaire which will be reviewed by a member of our firm and receive a prompt response.

If you hire Robert Tayac to handle your domestic violence case, you will know that your case is being properly handled and that you are retaining the services of a knowledgeable, experienced, and trustworthy California lawyer.

Office Locations and Areas We Serve

Mr. Tayac represents clients who have been arrested in the following cities and counties as well as other cities throughout California and can meet clients at several office locations in Northern California.

  • San Francisco
  • Marin County
  • San Mateo County
  • Oakland
  • Walnut Creek
  • San Rafael
  • Alameda County
  • Contra Costa County
  • Napa
  • Palo Alto


  • San Mateo Lawyers

Why Choose Our Firm?

Attorney Robert Tayac Puts a Long, Decorated Career to Work for You
  • Puts Over 20 Years of Experience Toward Your Case

  • Has Trained Other Attorneys in San Francisco

  • Former San Francisco Police Officer & Police Inspector

  • Boasts a Successful Record Achieving the Best Result for His Clients

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Your Strong Defense Starts with a Case Evaluation
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