When you are arrested for a crime in Philadelphia, there are two court appearances you will attend. The preliminary arraignment is held shortly after your arrest, and the formal arraignment is held after the preliminary hearing if you are charged with a felony offense and the preliminary hearing judge finds that the Commonwealth has made…
Philadelphia Civil Rights FAQ
Understanding Your Rights against Wrongful Police Conduct
In the police context, civil rights violations can take many different forms. A police officer may violate your rights by using excessive force or brutal police tactics. A cop may also falsely arrest you or otherwise misuse their police power and cause you harm. No matter how a civil rights violation occurs, the police officer and department should be held accountable for their unlawful conduct.
If you believe that a law enforcement officer violated your civil rights, you have important legal rights and options open to you. Philadelphia civil rights lawyer Lauren Wimmer at Wimmer Criminal Defense Law is experienced at representing clients who suffered serious civil rights violations. When you call, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands and that your rights will be aggressively protected throughout your case.
What are Civil Rights?
Civil rights are grounded in the United States Constitution – especially the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The First Amendment guarantees you various freedoms, including the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the freedom to assemble.
The Fourth Amendment protects you against unlawful and unreasonable searches and seizures – especially those performed by police officers and other law enforcement personnel. The Fifth Amendment protects your rights against self-incrimination, including in police interrogations and in criminal trials. The Fourteenth Amendment provides all citizens with equal protection under the law and protects them against racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination, for example.
There are many, many ways that cops in Philadelphia can violate any of the above civil rights. When this happens, it can result in physical harm, wrongful arrests and criminal allegations, and many other frightening circumstances. No one should ever be subjected to such abuse of police power that violates your rights.
Civil rights lawyer Lauren Wimmer knows that police should always be aware of what conduct is lawful or not. There is no excuse for an officer violating your rights or acting wrongfully. We are here to help if this situation happened to you. The following are only some examples of civil rights violations cases we handle.
What is Excessive Force?
One common basis for a civil rights claim is excessive force used by a police officer against a citizen. An officer may use excessive force during a pursuit or an arrest – and often may cause physical injuries or even death in the process.
The question of whether or not an officer used excessive force is extremely fact-dependent. What constitutes excessive force under one set of circumstances may not amount to excessive force under totally different circumstances. While you may know the officer used excessive force, they will almost always try to justify the force they used, maybe even by making up facts, such as you had a weapon when you did not. The fact-finder at trial (i.e., the jury or the judge) is usually the one who decides the question of whether the officer used excessive force in your specific case.
Officers are allowed to use reasonable force when detaining a suspect and when making an arrest. For example, the officer may use his or her hands to physically stop the suspect and place the suspect on the police car. In some instances, reasonable force may necessitate non-lethal force, and on rare occasions, even deadly force. For example, if the suspect is physically attacking the officer, then the officer may be justified in using a taser or stun gun on the suspect. If the suspect actually tries to shoot and kill the officer, then the officer may be justified in using deadly force against the suspect. All too often, officers overstep their bounds when it comes to using physical force. This is a highly dangerous situation that often causes serious and irreversible harm.
What is False Arrest?
In some instances, police may take someone into custody without the proper authority or justification. The law is clear on when police can lawfully detain or arrest someone and when police officers ignore these laws, it violates your basic civil rights. An arrest without a valid warrant or probable cause can cause many problems for you, including forcing you to spend time in jail and causing you to miss work, suffer mental anguish and emotional injury, and even suffer from a diminished personal or professional reputation in the community.
Philadelphia civil rights lawyer Lauren Wimmer can identify when an arrest was unjustified and unlawful and take appropriate action on your behalf.
What is Malicious Prosecution?
In addition to the civil rights allegations listed above, police and other authorities may abuse their power under other circumstances. Abuse of power by the government may include allegations of malicious prosecution, as well as First Amendment and due process violations.
Malicious prosecution, for example, typically involves a prosecutor who attempts to obtain a conviction against you for the sole purpose of harassment or ruining your reputation. Prosecutors should never pursue criminal charges or convictions without believing they have probable cause and sufficient evidence to prove the charge. They should also never withhold exculpatory evidence in your case in order to obtain a wrongful conviction.
If you were the victim of a civil rights violation, let Philadelphia civil rights lawyer Lauren Wimmer protect your rights and hold authorities responsible for their wrongful actions.
Call a Philadelphia Civil Rights Attorney for More Information
People allege civil rights violations against police officers and government officials under a variety of circumstances. Authorities fight hard against these allegations, so it is critical to have an aggressive and experienced civil rights lawyer on your side. Attorney Lauren Wimmer of Wimmer Criminal Defense Law can help you defend against criminal charges, as well as assert a civil rights violation by the police. We believe in holding authorities accountable, and we will do everything in our power to prevent wrongful convictions stemming from the violation of your rights.
To schedule your free case evaluation with a skilled Philadelphia civil rights lawyer, please call today at 215-712-1212, or contact us online.
Schedule your free case evaluation with a skilled Philadelphia civil rights lawyer
Call Wimmer Criminal Defense at (215) 712-1212 to discuss your rights today.