As citizens, we all have rights that cannot be violated. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be violated. If you want your rights to be upheld, it’s often you who has to insist upon them and fight for them. Maybe that’s not right, but it’s often the way it is. So, if you don’t know your rights, you will immediately be at a disadvantage in many situations.
Here are some of the consequences of not knowing your rights.
1. The law could wrong you
If you do get on the wrong side of the law and your rights as a citizen are not respected, a miscarriage of justice could occur. Many people prefer to act like these injustices don’t happen, but the stats show that they are scarily common occurrences.
Thus, you need to know your rights to be able to fight for them through the legal process. Police will find it much more difficult to take advantage of you and ignore your rights when you have a proper understanding of what they are in the first place.
2. You could be fined or locked up
Anyone who fails to stand up for their rights when faced with hostility from law enforcement could end up behind bars. Obviously, this is not a situation anyone wants to imagine themselves in. But you should, just in case you find yourself in that situation. It’s not a nice prospect, is it?
But it’s a clear example of what can happen and where you can end up if you’re not willing to fight for your rights and insist upon a fair hearing before the law. Sometimes, it can be good to scare yourself with the worst-case scenario when you need a reminder of how precious your rights are.
Plus, you need to abide by the law when it comes to taxes for your US-based small business. Otherwise, you face heavy fines. The taxes you pay depends on many factors, including the structure of your business.
3. Don’t know your rights? You might not get deserved compensation
There are all sorts of things that can go wrong for us in life. And you need to know that you can get compensation for many of those things. Of course, this means going through court proceedings, but it could also mean getting the money you know you are worthy of, and nothing is more important than that. The U.S. legal system offers relief to customers who have suffered harm or financial loss due to wrongdoing or carelessness by a company or organization. It’s important to understand class-action lawsuits and know your rights.
Therefore, don’t fail to get the deserved compensation. For example, you might be the victim of medical malpractice. If so, find malpractice lawyers who care. And then get the compensation you deserve.
4. Companies might cheat you out of money
You also have rights as a consumer. It’s not possible for companies to just cheat you out of money; at least, it shouldn’t be possible. However, it’s still the case that many businesses will try to take your money and run.
And they feel comfortable doing this because so many people simply don’t know what their rights are, so they know many consumers won’t even try to take action. Don’t be one of those people that companies feel confident deceiving. Instead, know your rights as a consumer and stand up for them.
5. Not knowing your rights prevents fulfilling your role as a citizen
Your rights were fought for and won in past generations, and you will be letting down that legacy by not understanding and embracing them fully. In short, you will fail to fulfill your role as a citizen.
While that statement might sound dramatic, it’s true. There are no two ways about it. If you want to be a good and proud citizen, you need to value existing rights rather than letting down those that have come before you. You also owe it to yourself to be the best citizen possible.
6. Not taking action (ignorance isn’t bliss)
When you don’t know your rights, the result will usually be the failure to take action when you ought to. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you risk losing money, a job, and even freedom and liberty.
That’s how serious your rights are. They need to be defended, but you can’t defend your rights until you have a full and proper understanding of:
- What the specific laws are, and
- What they mean for you
In general, you can’t use “ignorance is bliss” as an excuse for not knowing the law. Even if you didn’t know you broke the law, ignorance of the law is usually not an excuse. The assumption is that you generally know enough about the law to know you are violating it.
Know your rights: It’s in your best interests
Thus, if you’re still in the dark about your rights, it’s time to change that! How? Expand your knowledge in this area. Maybe you start a search online, chat with a friend who’s knowledgeable about the law, or seek out an experienced lawyer.
Rights are important, and there are many different rights. Whether you’re faced with a criminal charge or you want to organize a workplace strike, you need to know what your rights are.
Top photo: Learn your protections as a citizen. Photo by Nick Youngson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via The Blue Diamond Gallery.