Civil rights are rights that every U.S. citizen has. These rights protect free speech, prevent unfair treatment, and a variety of other freedoms. Your rights are protected under the Constitution and additional federal and state laws.
When someone violates your civil rights, you should act quickly to resolve the situation and protect those rights. Sadly, some people aren’t aware of their civil rights so they struggle to recognize when someone violates them.
In this blog, we’ll outline what your civil rights are and provide examples of violations so you can spot infringement immediately.
U.S. civil rights
Regardless of your race, gender, religion, etc., you have several rights that must be protected.
These rights include:
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom to assemble
- Freedom of religion
- A right to petition the government
- A right to procedural due process
- Freedom from discrimination based on protected classes, including sex, race, national origin, etc.
Recognizing that your rights have been violated is challenging sometimes. So what does unlawful infringement on your civil rights look like?
Violations can include any of the following:
- Excessive force from law enforcement
- Unlawful search and seizure from a law enforcement officer
- Cruel or unusual punishment
- Employment discrimination (losing a job, ignored for a job position, or getting passed over for a promotion due to discrimination)
- Public official abuse of power
- Wrongful imprisonment
- False arrest
- Malicious prosecution
What you need to know about civil rights
Your civil rights are protected up to a certain point. For example, while you have the freedom to assemble, law enforcement can ask you to move if you’re blocking a major roadway or business with your assembly.
If you’re unsure whether or not your civil rights might have been violated, it’s best to discuss the matter with a civil rights attorney.
Your attorney will ask questions and help guide you through the process of discovering whether or not you might be the victim of a civil rights violation.
Examples of Gilbert Law Firm civil rights cases
Sadly, the most common civil rights violations we see at the Gilbert Law Firm are instances of police misconduct. We have represented clients who have faced everything from excessive force to wrongful imprisonment, and malicious prosecution.
We have represented clients who had their privacy wrongfully invaded and their good names slandered by overzealous law enforcement officers and prosecutors.
Our team has also represented prison inmates where the prison staff physically or sexually abused them. While prisoners lose their freedom when they go to prison, they do not lose their civil rights.
As a prior law enforcement officer himself, Mr. Gilbert takes government accountability very seriously. The Gilbert Law Firm takes no prisoners when it comes to rectifying civil rights violations borne out of abuse of power and authority. We go out of our way to ensure constitutional rights are protected, no matter the circumstances.
Outside of police misconduct, we also represent clients facing other types of civil rights violations, such as:
- Employment discrimination based on age, disability or other protected classes
- Individuals who undergo a search of their personal property when the police do not have a warrant to conduct such a search
- Government employees dismissed from their employment because they voiced their critical views of the government
- Victims of hate crimes based on discrimination or racial profiling
- Suppression of the right to be free of oppression for speaking out (freedom of speech)
- Suppression of the right to be free from discrimination or oppression for exercising religious beliefs
- Governmental encroachment on the right to bear arms
When to hire a civil rights attorney
If your civil rights have been violated, it’s best to start with informal negotiations to resolve the issue when possible. For example, if you’re experiencing employment discrimination, go to the employer first to discuss the matter.
If, or when informal negotiations fail, it’s time to bring in a civil rights attorney to represent you in the matter. Your attorney can file a civil lawsuit in court.
In cases where the government or a governmental agency is involved, you might need to file a complaint with them before opening a lawsuit. Your attorney will be able to offer insight on this matter.
There are strict timelines called statutes of limitation that limit the period that you can file a lawsuit in these cases. To avoid concerns about the statute of limitation, you should see an attorney as soon as you recognize your need for legal representation.
This is especially true in instances of police use of force where preservation of critical evidence is always a concern; and assistance with obtaining quality medical care can be critical to a return to pre-incident lifestyle, or even survival.
The Gilbert Law Firm will ensure your civil rights are protected. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.