Article I, Alabama Constitution

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Alabama Constitution
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Article I of the Alabama Constitution is entitled Declaration of Rights and consists of 36 sections.


That the great, general, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare:[1][2]

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Equality and Rights of Men

That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.[1][2]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

People Source of Power

That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and that, therefore, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to change their form of government in such manner as they may deem expedient.[1][2]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Religious Freedom

That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.[1][2]

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Freedom of Speech and Press

That no law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press; and any person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.[1][2]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Unreasonable Search and Seizure; Search Warrants

That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable seizure or searches, and that no warrants shall issue to search any place or to seize any person or thing without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.[1][2]

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Rights of Persons in Criminal Prosecutions Generally; Self-Incrimination; Due Process of Law; Right to Speedy, Public Trial; Change of Venue

That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused has a right to be heard by himself and counsel, or either; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; and to have a copy thereof; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; to testify in all cases, in his own behalf, if he elects so to do; and, in all prosecutions by indictment, a speedy, public trial, by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense was committed; and he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law; but the legislature may, by a general law, provide for a change of venue at the instance of the defendant in all prosecutions by indictment, and such change of venue, on application of the defendant, may be heard and determined without the personal presence of the defendant so applying therefor; provided, that at the time of the application for the change of venue, the defendant is imprisoned in jail or some legal place of confinement.[1][2]

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Accusation, Arrest and Detention; Punishment Limited to Laws Established Prior to Offense

That no person shall be accused or arrested, or detained, except in cases ascertained by law, and according to the form which the same has prescribed; and no person shall be punished but by virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offense and legally applied.[1][2]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Proceeding Against Person by Information; Grand Jury Not Required in Misdemeanor Cases

That no person shall, for any indictable offense, be proceeded against criminally, by information, except in cases arising in the militia and volunteer forces when in actual service, or when assembled under arms as a military organization, or, by leave of the court, for misfeasance, misdemeanor, extortion, and oppression in office, otherwise than is provided in the Constitution; provided, that in cases of misdemeanor, the legislature may by law dispense with a grand jury and authorize such prosecutions and proceedings before justices of the peace or such other inferior courts as may be by law established.[1][2]


Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Double Jeopardy; Discharge of Juries from Cases

That no person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; but courts may, for reasons fixed by law, discharge juries from the consideration of any case, and no person shall gain an advantage by reason of such discharge of the jury.[1][2]

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Right to Prosecute Civil Cause

That no person shall be barred from prosecuting or defending before any tribunal in this state, by himself or counsel, any civil cause to which he is a party.[1][2]

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Right to Trial by Jury

That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.[1][2]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Prosecutions for Libel or for Publication of Papers Investigating Official Conduct of Public Officers

That in all prosecutions for libel or for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and that in all indictments for libel, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts under the direction of the court.[1][2]

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Courts to Be Open; Remedies for All Injuries; Impartiality of Justice

That all courts shall be open; and that every person, for any injury done him, in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have a remedy by due process of law; and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay.[1][2]

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

State Not to Be Made Defendant

That the State of Alabama shall never be made a defendant in any court of law or equity.[1][2]

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Excessive Fines; Cruel or Unusual Punishment

That excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted.[1][2]

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Right to Bail; Excessive Bail

That all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great; and that excessive bail shall not in any case be required.[1][2]

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Suspension of Habeas Corpus

That the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended by the authorities of this state.[1][2]

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Treason Against the State

That treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; and that no person shall be convicted of treason, except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his own confession in open court.[1][2]

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Bills of Attainder of Treason by Legislature Prohibited; Conviction Not to Work Corruption of Blood or Forfeiture of Estate

That no person shall be attainted of treason by the legislature; and no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.[1][2]

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Imprisonment for Debts

That no person shall be imprisoned for debt.[1][2]

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Suspension of Laws

That no power of suspending laws shall be exercised except by the legislature.[1][2]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Ex Post Facto Laws; Impairment of Obligations of Contracts; Irrevocable or Exclusive Grants of Special Privileges or Immunities

That no ex post facto law, nor any law, impairing the obligations of contracts, or making any irrevocable or exclusive grants of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed by the legislature; and every grant or franchise, privilege, or immunity shall forever remain subject to revocation, alteration, or amendment.[1][2]

Section 23

Text of Section 23:

Eminent Domain

That the exercise of the right of eminent domain shall never be abridged nor so construed as to prevent the legislature from taking the property and franchises of incorporated companies, and subjecting them to public use in the same manner in which the property and franchises of individuals are taken and subjected; but private property shall not be taken for, or applied to public use, unless just compensation be first made therefor; nor shall private property be taken for private use, or for the use of corporations, other than municipal, without the consent of the owner; provided, however, the legislature may by law secure to persons or corporations the right of way over the lands of other persons or corporations, and by general laws provide for and regulate the exercise by persons and corporations of the rights herein reserved; but just compensation shall, in all cases, be first made to the owner; and, provided, that the right of eminent domain shall not be so construed as to allow taxation or forced subscription for the benefit of railroads or any other kind of corporations, other than municipal, or for the benefit of any individual or association.[1][2]

Section 24

Text of Section 24:

Navigable Waters Declared Free Public Highways; Taxes, Tolls, Etc., for Use of Shores or Wharves

That all navigable waters shall remain forever public highways, free to the citizens of the state and the United States, without tax, impost, or toll; and that no tax, toll, impost, or wharfage shall be demanded or received from the owner of any merchandise or commodity for the use of the shores or any wharf erected on the shores, or in or over the waters of any navigable streams, unless the same be expressly authorized by law.[1][2]

Section 25

Text of Section 25:

Right to Peaceably Assemble and Petition for Redress of Grievances, Etc.

That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for the common good, and to apply to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.[1][2]

Section 26

Text of Section 26:

Right to Bear Arms

(a) Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.

(b) No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or international law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state, if such treaty or law, or its adoption, violates the United States Constitution.[1][2]


Section 27

Text of Section 27:

Standing Army; Military Subordinate to Civil Power

That no standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the legislature, and, in that case, no appropriation for its support shall be made for a longer term than one year; and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.[1][2]

Section 28

Text of Section 28:

Quartering of Soldiers in Houses

That 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.[1][2]

Section 29

Text of Section 29:

Titles of Nobility, Hereditary Distinction, Etc.; Restriction on Appointments to Office

That no title of nobility or hereditary distinction, privilege, honor, or emolument shall ever be granted or conferred in this state; and that no office shall be created, the appointment to which shall be for a longer time than during good behavior.[1][2]

Section 30

Text of Section 30:

Immigration, Emigration and Exile

That immigration shall be encouraged; emigration shall not be prohibited, and no citizen shall be exiled.[1][2]

Section 31

Text of Section 31:

Residence Not Forfeited by Temporary Absence from State

That temporary absence from the state shall not cause a forfeiture of residence once obtained.[1][2]

Section 32

Text of Section 32:

Slavery Prohibited; Involuntary Servitude

That no form of slavery shall exist in this state; and there shall not be any involuntary servitude, otherwise than for the punishment of crime, of which the party shall have been duly convicted.[1][2]

Section 33

Text of Section 33:

Protection of Suffrage

The privilege of suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influences from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper conduct.[1][2]

Section 34

Text of Section 34:

Property Rights of Aliens

Foreigners who are, or may hereafter become, bona fide residents of this state, shall enjoy the same rights in respect to the possession, enjoyment, and inheritance of property, as native born citizens.[1][2]

Section 35

Text of Section 35:

Objective of Government

That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.[1][2]

Section 36

Text of Section 36:

Construction of Declaration of Rights

That this enumeration of certain rights shall not impair or deny others retained by the people; and, to guard against any encroachments on the rights herein retained, we declare that everything in this Declaration of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate.[1][2]

See also

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