Any legal right given to individuals which can be enforced by a civil court action seeking to redress the injury, is considered a civil right. Constitutional amendments—and many federal and state laws—define our civil rights, which include:
1. The right to due process of law if arrested or accused of a crime;
2. The right to work or contract without regard to one’s race or national origin;
3. The right to express oneself, assemble peacefully and vote;
4. The right to be free from discrimination based on one’s skin color, race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or age;
5. The right to a public education;
6. The right of access for disabled persons; and
7. The right to be free of sexual harassment or hostility at work or school.
The most common civil rights cases involve people accused of crimes. The Constitution and other laws give us the right to be free of false or unlawful imprisonment, excessive force by authorities, unlawful searches, false confessions, planted evidence and other inappropriate police tactics. We have experience assisting clients with cases involving homicides resulting from restraint asphyxia while in police custody, and other cases of false arrest, and excessive force used by police officers in connection with arrests.
Personal characteristics or any other classification should never affect the way an individual is treated by law enforcement, and it should never be forgotten that all individuals accused of crimes are afforded rights as well. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers sometimes lose sight of these liberties individuals are entitled to by law , make snap judgments and choose to partake in discriminatory practice. Such a choice is a violation of the victim’s civil rights, which could result in a loss of freedom. No one should ever be deemed guilty of a crime without due process, and civil rights should absolutely never be violated during an arrest or incarceration.
Individuals who have been discriminated against have the right to hold a person or organization that violates their rights accountable in a court of law. In a civil rights lawsuit, a wronged person may win the job, freedom, money or other right that was unlawfully denied to him or her, as well as financial compensation for costs relating to the violation. In many cases, violated individuals may also be able to seek “punitive” damages—money seeking to punish the civil rights violator for willfully or egregiously violating the law. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced civil rights attorneys today for more information. Contact us at (914) 238-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org