Understanding Civil Rights
Your Rights Under the Law
When your civil rights have been violated in an act of police misconduct or police brutality, you have a right to seek compensation. An experienced Chicago civil rights attorney can help you with your claim, assisting in gathering supporting evidence and representing you as the case progresses. When your constitutionally guaranteed rights have been trampled by the government, it is important to hire a lawyer that is knowledgeable in civil rights matters because a lawyer that is inexperienced in handling civil rights cases can be fatal to your claim. The following are some important areas the firm is able to assist with:
What Are My Civil Rights?
It is important to know your legal rights so that you know when they are being overlooked or taken advantage of. This can include from the government, such as a police officer that goes too far. They are mean to protect the freedom of Americans, from any infringement through various forms.
Under the United States Constitution, citizens of the country have various rights that have been implemented to protect them from others, including a government that may try to expand its reach of power farther than the public would like.
One of the main pieces of evidence that can be used in a case is the confession of a suspect. Confessions may not always be legitimate though and the defendant may have been persuaded or backed into a corner by law officials. During a tense moment it can be easy for a suspect to cave under the pressure and admit to a crime or accusation that is actually false.
Due Process Violation
Under the law the state is required to respect and acknowledge the rights of all individuals. They do not always follow this though and may over step a line, such as searching a home without a warrant. When they fail to follow the law, they can also be held accountable.
Officers are often required to use some force in their line of work. This does not mean that every instance will require it and in many cases they can get caught up in the moment and use far more forceful means than what is necessary.
Failure to Intervene
When an officer does not intervene for an individual that is facing harm, they are violating the oath they took to protect citizens. They may witness a crime against an individual and rather than stepping in they wait on the sidelines, leaving the victim defenseless.
Some police officers have demonstrated a tendency to get overzealous and rather than looking at the evidence, lack of evidence or evidence that was unlawfully obtained, they make an arrest of an innocent person, forcing them into the jail system and dealing with legal ramifications.
In order to make an arrest and charge a person for a crime, there should be sufficient evidence and reason to believe they are guilty. When there is a lack of either of these categories, an innocent person can be taken into custody and prosecuted for a crime their hands are clean of. This can be an emotional, trying and extremely inconvenient situation that can harm the innocent person in a number of ways.
The police, while put in a position to guard and protect, are not without fault. Many instances have risen in which a police officer or multiple officers were found guilty of not only using excessive force when dealing with a suspect, but using force to the extent that it was considered brutality. This is a violation against the rights of the individual and a case may be taken out against law enforcement.
When officers carry out their job in a manner that is unlawful or violates the rights of citizens in anyway, this can qualify as police misconduct. Victims may feel that they will be overlooked or that they will be retaliated against, but when law enforcement is in the wrong they need to be held to a certain standard of conduct.
The police are involved in many shootouts that may be started by them or by another individual. There may not always be reason for these shootouts and the police can begin one that could have been resolved through other means. Victims can be harmed in these instances from the gunfire of an officer, suffering substantial injuries or in some cases fatality.
Taser are a means for officers to halt a suspect that seems to be resorting to violence or is incompliant. A Taser can be harmful, but allows officers an alternative to other forms of restraining or halting a suspect. These Tasers are not always necessary and officers may begin to use them excessively, harming victims and leaving them with varying physical side effects.
Unlawful Search & Seizure
In order to search or seize the property of a suspect, an officer must have a search warrant. In the intensity of the moment, officers can be quick to taken investigation into their own hands, searching an area they are not authorized for. This can result in evidence being discarded and is a violation against those that had their rights ignored.
Innocent victims are arrested and tried for crimes they did not commit all the time. Hopefully a trial will bring wrongful actions to surface, but sometimes it can only further harm victims when they are wrongfully convicted. This leaves them taking on various penalties that are dependent on the crime. While looking to resolve the case and put someone behind bars, the police may get the wrong person.
A violation of civil rights is an unfortunate situation. Even more harmful is when a violation of those rights results in a wrongful death. This can be the outcome of police brutality, negligence or other causes. Families of the victim may have a right to compensation by those responsible for the incident.
Your Rights to Compensation
When your civil rights are overlooked you may be able to restore them in some way through a right to compensation. While this will not cover over the damage that has been done, it is a start to retaining justice and moving forward.
Claims to Compensation for Victims
Section 1983 of the United States Code provides that a government officials, including police officers, who deprive citizens of civil rights can be held liable for damages, and your claim may include:
- Medical expenses for your injuries, from emergency treatment to recovery
- Lost wages while you recover, as well as in the future if your earning power has been reduced
- Property damage to your vehicle or residence
- Physical pain and suffering you experienced, such as through excessive force or taser abuse
- Mental or emotional distress caused by a constitutional violation, such as through a false arrest, malicious prosecution or wrongful conviction
To maximize your chances of success, call or visit the firm as early as possible to begin work on your claim.