Do You Know Your Civil Rights?

"My Civil Rights are being violated!" You've probably heard someone exclaim this from time to time. Maybe you have even thought it yourself. But sadly, many times when people think their Civil Rights are being violated, they are actually not. Other times, your rights may be violated without you realizing it. The first step in knowing whether your rights have been violated or not is knowing what those rights are. 

Your Civil Rights are those that are outlined in the Bill of Rights, which is actually the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution. There are actually more than 10 rights outlined in these ten amendments, since some include more than one right. For a full list of your Civil Rights, read over the Bill of Rights carefully. Keep reading below to discover some of the most commonly violated Civil Rights. 

Free Speech

The first amendment guarantees your right to free speech. The only time you don't have this freedom is when speaking would have a detrimental effect. The example that is always used is yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. This type of speech is harmful and therefore not a right. If you have been prevented from expressing your opinions or speaking your piece, this could be a Civil Rights violation. However, note that private entities do have a right to not publish items they do not want to publish. For example, a newspaper refusing to publish your article does not violate your right to free speech.

Protection From Search and Seizure

The Bill of Rights protect you from unlawful searches as conducted by police and officers of the law. If a police officer searches you or seizes your property without probably cause or without a warrant, this is likely a violation of your Civil Rights. Proving whether or not the police have probable cause can be complicated, so you will definitely want to talk to a lawyer if something like this has happened to you.

Right to Bear Arms

Over the years, the meaning of the second amendment -- which gives people the right to bear arms -- has changed, somewhat. Various government members and courts have differing opinions as to what the amendment actually means. However, if you feel that your right to bear arms has been violated, you should talk to a civil rights law service to learn about the nuances that apply to your situation and the laws in your locale.