Basic Differences Between Civil Rights and Civil Liberties


In general, civil liberties are the freedoms we enjoy daily which are guaranteed under the constitution. Some examples of civil liberties are freedom of speech and the press which are addressed by the 1st amendment to the constitution.

Other important civil liberties are contained in the 4th and 14th amendments. Under the 4th amendment, we are afforded liberty against unlawful searches and seizures. This means that Police Officers cannot search our person or home without probable cause. Probable cause means that law enforcement has reason to believe a crime is being or has been committed. Police officers must reasonably believe this and they’re not allowed to use things like race or gender to justify having probable cause.

Under the 14th amendment, and similarly under the 5th amendment, if you are arrested, you have the right to due process meaning that before the government can deny your freedom, you have a right to fight criminal charges you may face in court among other protections.

When your liberties are violated by law enforcement, enforcing them takes the form of a civil rights action. This type of action is also known as a 1983 lawsuit. It seeks recovery for the violations of your civil liberties guaranteed under the constitution. As your body and mind can be injured in a car accident or slip and fall, your rights can be similarly injured or violated by law enforcement and both state and federal law allows you to recover from those injuries. Our firm can help you recover from those injuries.

If you feel your civil rights have been violated, call the Law Offices of Andrew C. Laufer at 212-422-1020 or contact us online.

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