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Civil Rights

civil rights attorney

Our firm is recognized for its excellence in matters involving civil rights. Dothan Attorney Billy J. Sheffield, II has achieved strong results for our clients in trial and pre-trial litigation.

Have your civil rights been violated? If so, consult with one of our experienced civil rights attorneys in Dothan to find out if you could be entitled to compensation from the responsible party or parties.

Civil right violations at the hands of the police can be terrifying. We trust law enforcement to serve and protect, but what happens when that trust is broken? Many complaints of police misconduct are ignored as if the victim somehow deserves that fate by being involved with the police in the first place. However, many victims of police misconduct have not, in fact, committed any crime or been arrested.

Additionally, even if an arrest is legal, the use of excessive force is not. Attorney Billy J. Sheffield, II has extensive experience with police misconduct lawsuits, including cases of excessive force, police brutality, false arrest, and malicious prosecution.

If your civil rights have been violated, and you want the best representation for your civil rights violation, contact the civil rights attorney Billy J. Sheffield II.

Civil Rights & Excessive Force Cases We Handle

  • Police shootings
  • Excessive force and police brutality, including cases involving the use of Tasers
  • Jail inmate abuse, including excessive force and physical, sexual, and psychological abuse
  • Unlawful death at the hands of police or guards
  • False imprisonment/illegal detention occurs when an individual is unlawfully confined by the police. This can occur in the back of police car, in a jail cell or even an individual’s home
  • False Arrest occurs when police do not have a warrant or probable case or a warrant
  • Unlawful arrest and conviction, also known as malicious prosecution, occurs when an officer deprives an individual of their 14th amendment right to liberty. In this type of situation, the officer has no probable cause to go after the victim, but continues criminal proceedings
  • Unlawful search and seizure, like an illegal home or auto search that violates the Fourth Amendment
  • Improper use of taser

While police and other law enforcement officials have a difficult and dangerous job—and put themselves in harm’s way every day to help ensure our collective safety—they are not above the law. When law enforcement officials go beyond their legal limits and violate the civil rights of people, they are charged with protecting, they should be held accountable. In fact, some law enforcement agencies have a track record of allegedly using excessive force. It often takes settlements and judgments from experienced civil rights lawyers to get police departments to change their training, policies, and procedures, which helps prevent additional incidents from occurring in the future.

What Are Your Civil Rights?

The civil rights granted by the United States Constitution come primarily from the following:

  • The Fourth Amendment: Protects you against illegal searches and seizures and police brutality. We have been successful in handling these civil rights cases, as well as unlawful arrest and wrongful conviction cases, which often involve violations of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment’s “due process of law” clauses.
  • The First Amendment: Guarantees freedom of speech and provides protection against retaliation. This is especially applicable to whistleblower cases—also known as a qui tam lawsuit.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Prohibits federal and state governments and employers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This is often referenced in employment law cases.

Common Types of Police Misconduct & Civil Rights Violations

  • Have you or someone you have known been the victim of an unjustified police shooting?
  • Have you been falsely accused of pointing a weapon or being resistant?
  • Have you been lied to by the police?
  • Has evidence been planted to be used against you?

You are not alone.

Oftentimes, when a police officer shoots someone without justification, the police department falsely accuses the victim of having done something to provoke the shooting. These cases are extremely difficult to win, but our police brutality attorneys are willing to put in the hundreds or even thousands of hours required to win your case.

We have developed an effective strategy that begins with a one-on-one consultation. After meeting with you, our police brutality attorneys will assemble a team to prepare your case file, which will include:

  • Expert testimony from police officers, medical experts, physical scientists, ballistic experts or crime scene investigators
  • Blood splatter analysis
  • Bullet trajectory analysis

If you or someone you love has been hurt or killed in a police shooting, call the legal team at Brown Bass & Jeter, PLLC.

Holding Authorities Accountable for Prisoner Abuse

Being held in jail or prison removes a person’s freedom, but it should not result in the loss of basic human rights. Your constitutional rights remain in place even while awaiting a trial or while completing a prison sentence.

Jails and prisons exist to house individuals suspected of crimes who are awaiting trial and individuals who have been convicted of crimes and are serving out their sentences. The United States Constitution requires that jails and prisons not pose undue risks to the personal health and safety of individuals in custody. As such, jail and prison officials are obligated to provide safeguards to those individuals under their supervision.

Prisoner abuse is any assault committed against an incarcerated person while he or she is in the custody off a jail, prison, or holding facility. These harmful acts are usually acted out by correctional officers, correctional facility employees or other inmates.

When an individual is injured or dies due to the failure of jail or prison officials to protect the safety of the pre-trial detainees or inmates under their supervision, those officials may be held liable for their misconduct.

  • failing to monitor an inmate’s medical condition,
  • failing to determine medication needs upon intake,
  • failing to provide medical attention, failing to protect inmates from violent inmates,
  • failing to maintain a suicide watch.

How Do I Prove a Civil Rights Violation?

Federal law allows people who believe they have been the victim of any type of police misconduct to pursue relief in the context that the police officer violated their civil rights. You need to prove the following three elements to initiate a claim under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871:

  1. You must prove that another person violated rights afforded to you by the United States Constitution or under a state or federal statute. Although the person is usually a police officer, you can also file your claim against a municipality. That is because the law allows you to sue anyone in a municipality who knew about the misconduct but did not report it or do anything to stop it. The person or people representing the municipality may have also participated in the wrongdoing, hired negligently, or created hostile policies that allowed or even encouraged the police misconduct to occur.
  2. This misconduct must have occurred while the police officer was on duty and acting as a representative of Alabama law.
  3. The conduct by the police officer or municipality must have deprived you of a constitutional right, federal statutory right, or immunity.

Our Civil Rights Lawyers Can Help You

It can be challenging to determine whether the actions of the police violated your civil rights. If you or a loved one is the victim of police misconduct or prison abuse, act quickly and hire the experienced legal team at Bill J Sheffield Law, in Dothan, Alabama to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Before you file a lawsuit for prisoner abuse, steps must be taken to exhaust all administrative remedies at the detention facility. There are often multiple possible avenues when pursuing justice in the wake of alleged police misconduct or other civil rights violation. You need expert legal advice before filing an internal complaint against a law enforcement officer, filing a criminal complaint, or filing a civil lawsuit. We will lead you through these procedures to ensure that your lawsuit is filed properly.

What Kind of Civil Rights Case Settlement & Compensation Can Be Expected?

Every case is unique. It is both impossible and irresponsible to tell you what your case might be worth without a full analysis of the circumstances and the injuries resulting from the accident. However, the categories of damage that determine what a case is worth include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium

Our Dothan Attorney Billy J. Sheffield understands how difficult it can be to address the legal issues resulting from a civil rights violation. Through aggressive representation and compassionate client service, we can help you to determine liability for your injuries and work to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to as quickly as possible, helping you to get your life back on track.

We Can Answer Your Questions About Civil Rights Violations

When facing a violation of your civil rights, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what you can do to protect your interests. At Billy J. Sheffield Law, we assist victims of civil rights violations, and we will work diligently to stop further infringements of your rights and fight for a positive outcome to your case by holding liable parties accountable.

If you have questions about your rights and how you can fight back against violations, we can help. Some of the most voiced concerns about violations of civil rights include the following:

  • My Loved One Is A Victim Of Prison Abuse. What Can You Do? Our lawyers will help you explore all administrative remedies possible by working with the facility directly. If this does not resolve the problem, it may be prudent to file a lawsuit for damages.
  • How Can I Protect Myself As A Victim Of Police Brutality? There is no excuse for the use of excessive force by police. We have helped victims of police brutality secure damages for pain, suffering and other losses, and we can help you.
  • What Are My Options As A Victim Of False Arrest? Police cannot stop you without reason or falsely imprison you. Victims may have the right to pursue compensation through a malicious prosecution claim.
  • Can I Sue For A Civil Rights Violation If There Are Charges Pending Against Me? It is possible to sue for false arrest or excessive force at any time. We can help with a claim for malicious prosecution after a dismissal of charges.

You deserve a complete explanation of your rights and the legal options available to you. Our lawyers will provide straightforward counsel throughout every step of your case.

Speak with a Civil Rights Lawyer in Dothan Today

Billy J. Sheffield will work to protect the civil rights and fight for full and complete equality of all persons. The most egregious abuses are those committed by government agents acting unlawfully under the authority of their office. The right to be free from excessive force, unreasonable searches and seizures, and cruel and unusual punishment, are fundamental rights protected by law.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a civil rights violation, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our civil rights attorneys in Dothan, Alabama. Contact our office online or call 334-794-3733 to discuss your injury concerns with one of our caring, compassionate attorneys. Our goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve but also to prevent future incidents. Along with ensuring justice is served for you and your family, we aim to help other families avoid the same pain and suffering that you are experiencing.

Call Us for a Free Consultation 334-794-3733