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CIVIL RIGHTS
FAQs

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Do I have a civil claim if the police  fail to read me my rights upon arrest? 

 

Not necessarily. Movies and TV shows often depict police officers telling arrestees upon their arrest that they have the right to remain silent and that they have the right to an attorney. These are called "Miranda rights." Contrary to popular belief, police officers are not required to read you your Miranda rights, unless and until you are subjected to a custodial interrogation. This means that you must be in police custody and questioned pursuant to an investigation. Simply being arrested does not mean that a police officer must read you these rights. 

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What's the difference between  civil rights and personal injury claims? 

The difference between these claims centers on who caused the injury/violation. Civil rights claims arise from constitutional violations and are against government actors. Some examples of government actors include police officers, public school officials, and individuals employed by city,  state, and federal agencies. 

In contrast, personal injury claims arise from injuries caused by private individuals and businesses. These claims stem from the violations of state laws. 

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Do police officers have to have a warrant to search my home? 

 

The answer to this question is fact-dependant. Generally speaking, a police officer must have a valid warrant supported by probable cause and signed by a judge in order to enter a private residence to search the home and/or arrest an occupant. However, a warrantless entry is permitted where exigent circumstances exist.

 

Exigent circumstances are circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that someone, including the police officers, may be in immediate danger. Exigent circumstances also exist when there is a reasonable belief that relevant evidence is being destroyed or a fleeing felon is inside the home.  

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What is a statute of limitations and how long do I have to file a civil rights claim?

 

In the civil realm, the statute of limitations is a law that requires that a civil claim (i.e. lawsuit) is filed within a certain time period after the underlying event occurs. 

Most federal civil rights claims must be filed within two years of the event that triggers the claim. In some circumstances, the statute of limitations is one year from the date of the incident. 

Most state-law claims have much shorter statutes of limitations. Many are one year or less. 

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What happens if I file a claim after the statute of limitations? 

 

Civil rights and state-law claims that are filed after the statute of limitations will be dismissed as untimely. This means that the court will not allow you to pursue those claims whatsoever. 

The statue of limitations period depends on the particular claim. You may or may not have several claims available to you.

If you believe you have a civil claim, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney immediately so action can be taken prior to the statute of limitations deadline. Contact us today so we can assist you.