4 Ways the Justice System May Try to Take Away Your Rights

Justice System

The United States justice system is designed around protecting people’s rights for fair treatment. However, that doesn’t always happen. Some people may believe their rights have been restricted or taken away altogether. Everyone’s experiences in the justice system are different. Still, it’s not uncommon for some people to experience the following:

A Struggle to Get Legal Help                   

A right to legal representation is a vital factor in a fair trial in criminal justice. However, some people struggle to get legal help from leading law firms like Liberty Law. When there isn’t equal access to the best legal help, there’s potential for unfair outcomes.

Two people facing the same charges may have different repercussions based on their legal support. The same issues can be seen in civil cases. In over three-quarters of civil trial cases in the United States, at least one litigant doesn’t have access to a lawyer.

Asset Forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture describes the rights of law enforcement agencies to take real estate, vehicles, cash, and other assets they believe were involved in criminal activity. Some people believe that seizing assets is a violation of due process rights. This is because law enforcement can seize assets without arresting someone or getting a conviction.

Many critics see asset forfeiture as unconstitutional. They view it as a violation of people’s fourth, fifth, and eighth amendment rights. Once property is seized, it can be expensive and challenging to regain, with the costs associated with the process often exceeding the property’s value.

Felony Voting Restrictions

While not true in all states, some states have laws that state people can’t vote if they’re serving time for a crime or have a felony conviction. Some people with mental disabilities may also be unable to vote despite the right to vote being protected in many other countries.

In 2020, over five million Americans with convictions were unable to vote. Many will never be able to vote, while some may be able to pay fees or fines to vote in the future. According to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund deputy director of litigation, Leah Aden, depriving former felons of the right to vote disproportionately affects people of color. As a result, it’s one of the most crucial civil rights issues of our time.

Pretrial Detention

Even if people are able to hire the best criminal lawyer to protect their rights and guide them through the legal system, pretrial detention can still be a challenge they face. Pretrial detention means someone must remain in prison before their cases are heard if they are unable to afford their bail costs.

When cases take several months or even years to be heard, some people view pretrial detention as a violation of their presumption of innocence. Being incarcerated for such a long time can also result in significant life challenges like job loss and separation from their support network. However, pretrial detention is typically only used if an officer believes a defendant is likely to commit a crime before their trial begins.

The justice system is designed to be fair for all, but not everyone sees it that way. Some people experience these situations above and feel like their trial outcomes are impacted. Fortunately, having an experienced criminal law team on your side may ensure your rights are as protected as possible.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

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