One of the best things about living in the United States is that you have the U.S. Constitution written to protect your basic rights as a citizen. Unfortunately, the existence of the Constitution does not necessarily mean others won’t knowingly or unknowingly violate your civil rights. Should this happen, you do have legal recourse. While you can hire any lawyer to handle your case, working with one specializing in civil rights law will give you an added advantage. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, here’s how these lawyers can help.
Civil Rights Violations
There are many instances where your civil rights may be violated. Some of the most common include violations of your freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and your freedom to assemble and protest peacefully. Civil rights lawyers also handle cases that focus on discrimination in almost any form, be it due to your race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, or national origin. When you hire an attorney who specializes in civil rights cases, they will attempt to win your case by either a jury trial where a jury rules in your favor or reaching an out-of-court settlement with the defendant in your case.
When Would You Need a Civil Rights Lawyer?
When it comes to real-world situations where you may need to hire a civil rights attorney to protect your legal rights, there are many. For example, if you are arrested by police and they fail to read you your Miranda rights or conduct an unreasonable search and seizure of your home or vehicle without probable cause or a warrant, your civil rights have been violated. A civil rights lawyer can also help you if you have been denied a job or promotion based on your race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs, which happens far more often than you might realize.
How a Civil Rights Lawyer Will Handle Your Case
When you work with a civil rights lawyer on a case, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. First, these cases are often extremely complex and thus do not get resolved quickly in most situations. In fact, it is not unusual for many civil rights cases to be appealed to various courts and possibly even heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. When you meet with an attorney, they will listen to you explain what happened and how you believe your rights were violated. After doing so, they will advise you on whether or not they feel you do have a viable case. If you do, they will explain your legal options and how long they think it will take to resolve your case.
Filing a Claim
When you believe your civil rights have been violated, your attorney will usually advise you to file a claim with the government first, since this is often a necessary step before you can file a lawsuit. For example, if you are claiming workplace discrimination, you will likely need to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, commonly known as EEOC. An investigation will then be conducted, which may take weeks or even months. Once this is done, you can then have your civil rights lawyer file a lawsuit on your behalf, even if the initial investigation did not rule in your favor.
Suing for Damages
Your civil rights lawyer will be suing for monetary damages and possibly other damages as well, such as having you reinstated into your previous job or getting a well-deserved promotion. Remember that the goal of your lawsuit will not be to change existing rules or regulations but to prove that your civil rights were violated based on those rules or regulations. As for paying your lawyer, most civil rights attorneys work on a contingency fee basis or charge an hourly rate for their services.
Civil rights lawyers are true champions of justice and always willing to take on the most complex legal cases. Should you believe your civil rights have been violated, don’t hesitate to hold those responsible accountable for their actions by hiring an experienced civil rights lawyer.