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Four Ways the Police May Have Violated Your Civil Rights

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure of their person, home, papers, and effects. This applies to everyone in the United States, regardless of immigration status. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers sometimes abuse these human rights and cause unnecessary stress, injury, and even death.

Here are four ways that the police may have violated your civil rights:

  1. Unlawful detention – This covers a variety of scenarios where a law enforcement officer detains you for no valid reason. It can include unreasonable traffic stops, searching your belongings without permission, entering your home without a warrant, or demanding that you do something without providing justification.
  2. False Arrest – Unlawful detention can sometimes lead to false arrest. If you were arrested after a search without a warrant or other breach of the Fourth Amendment, you have the right to take legal action.
  3. Excessive use of forceVirginia Law spells out specific regulations on what is an acceptable use of force in various situations. When the use of force is excessive, it can cause severe injury and death. Even if you are guilty of a crime, the Fourth Amendment legally protects you from excessive force during your arrest. If you or a loved one was injured or killed through excessive use of force, you might be owed compensation for your injuries.
  4. Racial profiling – If you believe a law enforcement officer stopped, searched, detained, or arrested you based on your race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin, you may be a victim of racial profiling.

If you are being charged with a crime after police violated your civil rights, you need help from a criminal defense lawyer with a strong background in civil rights violations.

Proving the Police Violated Your Civil Rights

While you are facing criminal charges and potentially recovering from emotional trauma and physical injuries from the encounter, trying to understand your civil rights may feel daunting. Additionally, proving that a law enforcement officer violated your civil rights can be a difficult task that requires extensive analysis of evidence.

For example, if you are black and the police arrested you after a traffic stop for speeding during which they discovered that you were under the influence of alcohol, they may be able to argue that they had just cause to conduct a traffic stop because you were speeding. However, if they saw dozens of cars speeding and chose to only stop drivers who appear to be black, this could be a case of racial profiling.

Virginia Law specifies the protocol for proper reporting of all motor vehicle stops and other interactions, which includes reporting the race and ethnicity of the detained individual. These reports can provide insight into the overall trends of certain police officers and can serve as one piece of evidence of racial profiling as well as other types of civil rights violations.

Body cam and dash cam footage, 911 call records, dispatch information, and many other police records can be helpful in understanding what happened, in addition to interviews with witnesses and many other techniques.

Contact a Hampton Roads Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing criminal charges can be stressful and scary, especially if you were subjected to any type of police misconduct. If the police violated your civil rights, an experienced criminal defense attorney could help you understand your legal options. We can further investigate your case to assess what occurred and ask the court to toss out any evidence that the police collected unlawfully.

The attorneys of Shannon & Associates, P.C. are former prosecutors who understand what it takes to build a strong defense. Protecting your freedom and civil rights is our top priority, and we will do everything we can to support you during this difficult time.

Contact us today online or by phone at 757-228-5529 for a free initial consultation.

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