It may seem like only constitutional violations are a relatively rare occurrence and that it can only happen to someone else. The truth of the matter is that ordinary people are deprived of their constitutional rights every day. Unfortunately, many of these cases go unreported, and people suffer the loss of their rights not knowing how to defend themselves.
Attorney Lauren Wimmer believes that, when it comes to protecting our constitutional rights, ordinary people are most deserving of legal representation. She provides dedicated and passionate legal representation to people in the Philadelphia metro area and across Pennsylvania. If you think your rights have been infringed, call us at 215-712-1212 or contact us online in order to schedule a free consultation and discuss how we can help you.
The term “due process” comes from the amendments to the Constitution. Both the 5th and the 14th Amendments state that no one shall be deprived of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It is the only right enumerated in our Constitution that is mentioned to twice. While the 5th Amendment was one of the original Amendments comprising the Bill of Rights, the 14th Amendment wasn’t adopted in 1868 as part of the Reconstruction. The drafters of the 14th Amendment believed that due process was so important, that they reiterated the prohibition found in the 5th Amendment.
Clearly, due process rights are considered to be some of our most fundamental rights protected by the constitution. They deserve our protection, and when they are violated, the people or entities who are responsible should be held accountable.
Over the years, the Supreme Court has recognized that there are two types of due process rights: procedural due process and substantive due process.
Procedural due process refers to the process by which the government can deprive you of your rights. To put it another way, it is the concept of procedural fairness.
Over time, it has developed into a sophisticated body of law that requires you be given notice and an opportunity to be heard before a neutral decision maker before you can be deprived of your rights. You have procedural due process rights in both criminal and civil court proceedings, as well as any non-judicial, governmental process that may affect your interests in life, liberty, or property. To help put this into context, here are some examples of common procedural due process rights:
This is an area of the law that continues to evolve, as the Constitution and the subsequent amendments do not lay out the specific procedures that are required. In addition, the courts have determined that not all due process rights are required in every type of proceeding. As a result, determining whether a procedural due process violation has occurred requires a complex analysis of your case and how current legal decisions apply. An experienced due process rights attorney can evaluate your case and identify the potential violations that may have occurred.
While procedural due process is focused on the right to procedural fairness, substantive due process pertains to certain rights that are unrelated to procedure. Although substantive and procedural due process rights are positioned as opposites, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between the two in certain situations.
Substantive due process refers to the protection of what are deemed to be fundamental rights, which are implicit in the very fabric of our country. Some of our substantive due process rights are expressly set forth in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Others have been shaped and defined through decades of court decisions, but are no less important than the ones that our country was founded upon. The following are some substantive due process rights that have emerged over the years, illustrating just how fundamental these rights are:
With a substantive due process claim, you are essentially arguing that the entity seeking to deprive you of your rights has no right to do so at all, regardless of the procedural protections that may be in place. In other words, these rights should be protected from government infringement as much as possible.
Due process is a complex area of the law that a great deal of experience and knowledge. As mentioned above, the law surrounding both procedural and substantive due process continues to evolve. It requires careful study of the Constitution and existing legal precedent, coupled with an understanding of current trends in Constitutional law and what the current Court may find to be a compelling argument. If you have been deprived of your due process rights, it is exceptionally difficult for a non-lawyer to successfully articulate their claim, build their case, and prevail before the court.
It’s also important to understand the context in which most due process cases take place. Due process cases arise when someone has been deprived of their rights or that deprivation is imminent. As a result, time is not on your side, and the damage to your life could be irreparable. You need to be able to deftly navigate the legal system in order to protect your rights. Even a minor procedural mistake could jeopardize your case, resulting in a forfeiture of your rights.
You should also keep in mind that the other side will most certainly be represented by counsel. Without a lawyer, you can be sure that they will exploit your lack of knowledge and experience. Hiring an attorney can level the playing field and give you the best opportunity for success if protecting your rights.
As a citizen, you’re entitled to the fundamental rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution, both procedural and substantive. For a variety of reasons, our rights are under attack almost every day, and therefore must be aggressively defended. The idea of challenging the status quo is always daunting, but you can stand up for yourself with the right help. Attorney Lauren Wimmer brings dedication and passion to every case she handles and will fight for your rights until you get the justice you deserve. If you would like to speak with her about your case, call us at 215-712-1212 or contact us online in order to schedule a free consultation.