The attorneys at Giroux Amburn have been representing families and estates of victims injured or killed while being detained or in the custodial care of prisons, jails, or juvenile detention settings for more than 20 years.
Generally speaking, your civil rights are those enumerated under the US Constitution and legislative acts. Civil rights are typically those considered to be related to an individual’s political and social freedom and equality. These rights range from your right to free speech to your right to an attorney.
The most important rights to consider if you’ve been arrested or picked up by police are the right to an attorney, the right to avoid self-incrimination, and the right not to be unlawfully detained. You can always refuse to answer questions and request an attorney. If you have not been formally placed under arrest, you have the right to leave police custody. If you’ve been placed under arrest, the police have a certain amount of time they can hold you without formally filing charges. Even after you have been formally charged, you have the right to request a non-punitive bail, which can be granted or denied at the judge’s discretion.
Depending on the claims alleged, civil rights violations have varying statutes of limitations under state law. Federal courts typically apply the laws of the forum state in assessing the applicable statute of limitations. If you believe your rights have been violated, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
Technically, a civil rights claim can be any act that in some way has infringed upon an individual’s autonomy. The most common types of civil rights claims involve abuse by government actors, such as police brutality or misconduct, or agencies, wrongful termination, and employment discrimination.
Government actors and officers are protected by governmental and qualified immunity that bars claims. However, if it can be proven that the government or its officer acted with gross indifference or acted in a way that serves as an exception to their governmental immunity, you can pursue a claim.
The most common type of civil rights claim is a federal 1983 claim. 1983 claims are those raised under 42 USC 1983, which governs the actions of governmental agents, like police officers. 1983 claims are often asserted when an individual has been assaulted by a police officer, a government funded institution commits a tort, or an individual suffers an injury or death while incarcerated.
You can only file a civil rights claim on behalf of someone other than yourself if one of the following exceptions applies: wrongful death cases, an incapacitated plaintiff, a minor plaintiff, or a class action case.
A criminal civil rights violation involves the use or threat of force. A civil violation of civil rights involves no violence, only discriminatory behavior. Criminal violations carry incarceration penalties, while civil violations carry monetary penalties.
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