What to Do When Your Constitutional Rights Get Violated

by Joseph

The United States Constitution stands as the supreme law in America. This document outlines what the federal and local governments may and may not do. Although this document was written more than 300 years ago and has been amended over the years, it continues to protect the rights of American citizens. Furthermore, each state establishes its constitution, although these documents cannot override what is written in the United States Constitution. If a person feels their constitutional rights have been violated, they wonder what recourse they have. Sadly, any violation of these rights puts American democracy at risk as well. What can a person do in this situation?

Constitutional Rights

First, a person must know their constitutional rights to recognize when they have been violated. These rights function to protect citizens and ensure government officials don’t overstep their bounds. For instance, most people know they have freedom of speech in this country. They might believe this right has been violated if they are arrested for yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater.

However, the courts have already ruled this isn’t permissible. For this reason, a person’s constitutional right hasn’t been violated. The right to free speech doesn’t allow a person to cause panic or place others in danger. Any individual who believes their constitutional rights may have been violated should speak with an Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer to determine if this is the case.

Most people also know law enforcement is required to take certain steps when arresting a person to ensure this individual’s constitutional rights aren’t violated. A person doesn’t have to speak to law enforcement, and every individual retains the right to legal counsel.

Officers must present a warrant before searching a property or seizing evidence. A failure to do so means any evidence collected cannot be used in a court of law. These serve as two of many examples of rights outlined in the constitution. Become familiar with these rights so you can easily determine if they have been violated. If you feel they have been violated, what can be done?

Types of Violations

First, a person must understand what constitutes a violation of one’s rights. Numerous violations may occur. For instance, every person charged with a crime and arrested must be read their Miranda rights. A failure to do so on the part of law enforcement serves as a violation of the accused’s constitutional rights. However, some violations occur once the person is in police custody.

Every person is entitled to an attorney, even those who cannot afford one. If a person requests an attorney, any questioning by law enforcement stops until the attorney is present. When law enforcement fails to provide an attorney, the accused has a case for a violation of their rights.

Finally, a person might find their rights were violated when they were taken to court on a criminal matter. Some violations don’t occur until the case is in progress, and individuals must know what to look for to see if they have received unfair treatment under the law. The attorney representing them in the criminal matter should watch for this as well and file an appeal if the defendant is found guilty.

After a Violation

A person might wonder if they have any recourse when their rights are violated. When the government is involved in the violation, where should a person turn? Fortunately, men and women find they can take steps to ensure those responsible are held accountable and they receive the justice they deserve.

Before proceeding, take the time to do some research. There are exceptions to constitutional rights, and the average person often isn’t aware of these exceptions. Do some quick research to learn if your case falls under one of these exceptions. If so, proceeding with the case might be a waste of time.

Follow up with an attorney. Even when it appears your rights haven’t been violated, it never hurts to contact an attorney. They become of great help in determining the merits of the case and what further action should be taken if any. When the attorney finds a violation, they negotiate with the federal agency to resolve the matter. This might involve having the charges dismissed or the case might need to go to court. If this is the case, the attorney works to build a case against the perpetrators and craft a defense on your behalf.

Before choosing an attorney, make certain they have experience with similar cases. A real estate attorney isn’t of much help with a matter of this type, for example. Although attorneys can take on any legal case, it’s best to hire someone with prior experience. They have more familiarity with the nuances of these cases, which is of great help to the person bringing the suit.

Go to Court

In many situations, the matter can only be resolved in a court of law. The judge reviews the matter and issues a ruling. For instance, law enforcement officers may illegally seize evidence. When this is the case, the judge may choose to not allow that evidence to be used as proof of a crime. The attorney argues on behalf of the client to obtain the desired outcome.

This is only one outcome that a person might seek when they believe their constitutional rights have been violated. Some individuals wish to have the case dismissed as law enforcement officers did not provide an attorney when one was requested. The attorney may ask that the trial be moved to a different jurisdiction or request that a witness not be allowed to testify. It all depends on the facts of the case. However, if the attorney feels your rights weren’t violated, they will share this information. They don’t want to waste your time or theirs on a case that will go nowhere.

Any person accused of a crime should seek legal counsel right away. Criminal charges often come with long-lasting consequences, and a person might even find they must spend time in jail or prison, depending on the charges. A criminal defense attorney works to prevent this from happening. They work with clients to make certain every person gets a fair trial and judicial treatment. The United States Constitution guarantees certain rights for all Americans. If you feel yours have been violated in some way, speak up. Doing so is your right as a citizen of this country.

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