5 Limitations on Civil Rights

image-4Each individual has some inalienable rights according to the U.S. constitution. Some people call these rights civil rights; others call them basic rights. This civil rights include the freedom from unequal treatment, regardless of race, gender, and disability. It also includes freedom of expression and the right to vote. Civil rights have the constitutional backing of the governments and can be enforced in a court of law. However, just like all categories of rights, this act is not absolute.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines limitation as “the act of controlling the size or extent of something.” It is basically restricting someone or something from being fully expressed or experienced.

With regards to civil rights, restriction occurs when a person’s right is restrained through action, speech or contractual agreements. Rights can be restricted in different situations. It can be by statutes, government mandate, corporate bodies and even individuals. It is important to learn and understand the way these rights can be limited. The following depict some limitations on civil rights:

Status: Civil rights can be greatly limited by your qualification. A particular civil right is the right to vote and the right to be voted for. However, if you do not meet up to the requirements to be able to vote, your right has been limited. In America today, the minimum age limit to be able to vote is 18. If you are below 18, you will not be allowed to vote. Also, if you do not register or have your qualifying card, you will not be allowed to vote. If you are a person of questionable character, your civil right to vote and the right to contest for an election is limited. A person of unsound mind (or the disabled) can also have his civil right constrained. Such person will not be allowed to contest for an elective post. This limitation is as a result of the status of individual because the law provides for it.

Incarceration: This simply means imprisonment. Imprisonment is not only peculiar to civil rights. It is also found as a restriction on human rights, fundamental rights and international rights. One major civil right is the right to movement. This right is not enforceable in the case of those in prisons. Individuals in this facility are there because they breached a provision of the law, and the punishment is incarceration. When a person is in a federal or state penitentiary, his/her right to travel freely has been limited by the statute creating offenses. The rights to travel freely can also be limited by the government. When a person is denied the ability to move from one state to another by the government, the individual’s right to travel freely has been curbed. Unlawful detention and controlled movement of one person by another also amounts to imprisonment. For example, if an employee is prevented from traveling from New York to Washington, the employer can be said to have limited his/her right.

Public Good: An important right that we can relate to right to privacy. “Hey, I have a right to privacy” is usually heard in colleges and universities. Almost every teenager says it to their parents. The right to privacy is more than invading someone’s personal space. The right to privacy encompasses all forms of intrusion into a person’s affairs. It includes disclosures of embarrassing information or any form of publicity that condemns people to disrepute. Public good limits this right. What this means is that if limiting the right to privacy will be for the benefit of the public and will advance greater good, civil right will be restricted to achieve this. For example, having a surveillance camera in a room is a limitation of the right to privacy. Yet, it is in banks, street corners and some homes. The desirability of limiting the right is greater than the undesirability.

Contractual Agreements: A lot of people have their civil liberties limited because of contracts they entered into with an individual or a company. Everybody has a right to freedom of religion. You can choose to have no religion. You can choose to be an atheist, an agnostic or a believer in anything. It is unquestionably your choice. You cannot have any belief imposed on you. If it is imposed, your civil right has been restricted. You also have a right to freedom of expression. However, when you sign a contract with someone and the contract says you cannot practice your religion, your right can be said to have been limited. For instance, some Muslims wear a hijab. Some Jews wear a cap. If there is any contractual agreement that prevents this right, it serves as an infringement and a constraint.

Crime: One of your civil rights is freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. This right is not definite. Committing an offense limits this right. If a sentence is imposed and it seems grossly unfair, the convict cannot complain of the encroachment of civil rights. Serving a term of 20 years with hard labor is somewhat unfair, in part because the civil right of the person has been limited. Another civil right is freedom from unreasonable searches and seizure of property. If a suspect runs into a house, the house can be searched. And such search will not be deemed “unreasonable” or illegal. The owner’s liberty has been narrowed down to a degree because of the suspect in the house. Also, if a property is being used for illegal and unlawful purposes, the right of the person to the property will be restrained. The government can acquire property for this illicit and criminal use.

Bottom Line

The importance of knowing your civil rights cannot be overemphasized. Every day, people’s civil rights are being limited. They are being limited by companies, individuals and even the government. If you feel your rights are being unfairly and unjustly limited, contact a Civil Rights attorney today. They have been specially trained to meet your needs and to bring your case before the jury. Do not be among the few ignorant people who do not know their right. So, act now!

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