San Diego Civil Rights Litigation: What is Due Process?

san diego civil rights litigationBoth the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution mention “due process.” The Fifth Amendment states that no person should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process.  The Fourteenth Amendment makes clear that states must also provide due process and may not deprive people of life, liberty or property without it.

Due process has been defined very broadly by the Supreme Court to provide many protections. Understanding your due process rights, therefore, is not as simple as just knowing that you can’t have your property or liberty taken away. An experienced attorney can help you to understand due process and can assist you in taking action to protect yourself if your rights are violated in any way. Sepahi Law Group, APC has extensive experience with civil rights cases in San Diego, La Jolla, Del Mar and throught California including those arising from violations of the due process clause. We are here to help protect your Constitutional rights, so call us today to speak with a member of our legal team and learn more.

Understanding Due Process

There are many ways in which the due process clause has been expansively defined and applied.

First and foremost, “people” are not the only ones who are protected by the due process clause. In addition to individuals, corporations are also considered “people” for purposes of protecting their due process rights. This means that the state or federal government, including law enforcement members and government agencies, cannot deprive either individuals or corporations of their property or freedom without due process.

Due process itself has also been defined not just to include the right to a trial or court action before you lose your property or go to jail. In fact, the Supreme Court has found that the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments actually provide four protections: procedural due process, substantive due process, a prohibition against laws that are too vague, and incorporation of the Bill of Rights

  • Procedural due process is what most people think of when it comes to due process- the right to a fair and unbiased trial.
  • Substantive due process means that the government cannot interfere with fundamental rights as this would be a deprivation of liberty.
  • The prohibition against vague laws means that people must be able to understand the laws and their requirements before they are expected to abide by them. If the law is too vague, it can be considered void.
  • Finally, incorporation of the Bill of Rights means that the Amendments in the Constitution apply not only to the federal government but also to state and local governments as well.

The due process clause has been used by the court to declare many controversial rights not specifically mentioned in the constitution, including the right to an abortion.  The concept of substantive due process remains controversial and not all of the justices on the current Supreme Court support some of the substantive due process rights that have been defined.

Regardless, due process laws provide you with many important guarantees that your life, liberty and property will not be unjustly taken. If you feel your civil rights were violated in any way or that you were deprived of due process, call Sepahi law Group, APC today for assistance pursuing a San Diego civil rights litigation case.

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