Seeking Legal Help from the ACLU of Georgia
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Learn about your legal rights and get help with a legal matter.
Understanding your rights is the first step to protecting them. When can the police stop you – and what can they legally demand? You have freedom of speech, but are there some things you cannot say or do? What are your rights at school? ACLU legal experts answer essential questions about your rights in a series of Know Your Rights guides. See our full list of Know Your Rights materials.
Before you submit a complaint, please read the information below.
Important: Because of the time involved in reviewing complaints, please be careful when requesting assistance for an issue with an upcoming deadline. If you are facing an upcoming court date or similar deadline, you should continue to seek legal assistance elsewhere while we investigate your complaint. Typically, we need at least 3-4 weeks, and sometimes much longer, to respond and cannot guarantee that we will provide you with direct legal representation or advice once we have reached a decision.
The ACLU Foundation of Georgia’s Legal Department is not a legal aid services organization, like the Public Defender’s Office or other neighborhood legal services that provide legal services to low-income individuals, including legal advice as it pertains to specific cases. The main objective of the foundation’s litigation department is to bring high-impact cases that defend and promote the fundamental guarantees for civil rights and individual liberties protected by federal and state constitutions.
The ACLU Foundation of Georgia (ACLU-GA) handle matters that arise inside of Georgia only. Although there are exceptions, it does not generally assist in the following types of cases.
- Criminal defense or post-conviction appeal
- Family law/child custody – The ACLU-GA generally does not provide assistance in family law cases involving disputes about divorces, child custody, parenting time, or visitation.
- Property disputes or building code issues
- Tax problems
- Landlord-tenant issues – The ACLU-GA does not generally get involved in disputes between tenants and their private landlords, unless the issue involves discrimination prohibited by statute or ordinance.
- Complaints about Lawyers or Judges
- Denial of workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits – The ACLU-GA generally does not get involved in individual benefits cases, unless the issue involves discrimination prohibited by law or statute.
- Employment -The ACLU-GA usually cannot help when employees believe they were fired unjustly or were otherwise treated unfairly at work. This is especially true when the employer is a private company rather than a government agency. But when workers can show that they were fired or mistreated because of their race, gender, ethnic background, religion, disability or any other basis that violates anti-discrimination statutes, there is stronger legal protection.
The ACLU-GA only handles matters that arise in Georgia.
Generally, the ACLU-GA can offer assistance to only a small fraction of those who request it. Our office receives thousands of requests for assistance per year and, unfortunately, we do not have the resources available to assist everyone. The ACLU-GA looks for situations taking place in Georgia involving civil rights and civil liberties issues, in which the ACLU’s assistance may have a strong chance of making positive changes for a potentially significant number of people with the same, or similar, issue.
Each complaint is reviewed by staff to determine whether it constitutes a civil liberties problem the ACLU-GA may be able to help. There are many factors that go into determining whether we may be of assistance at any given time, including availability of staff, resources and timing.
If the ACLU-GA is able to offer you assistance after your initial intake, they will contact you to gather more information about your situation. If your situation is time sensitive, please continue to look for help elsewhere while we review your complaint. Your local bar association may have a lawyer referral service or similar program that may provide you with attorney referrals in your county. Please refer to the Georgia Bar Association website for more information.
If the ACLU-GA is not able to offer you assistance, we will similarly contact you by phone, mail, or email. In either case, because of our small size and the large volume of complaints that we receive, it will take at least a few weeks to let you know of our initial decision.
No. Submitting a complaint to the intake process does not guarantee that the ACLU-GA will provide legal assistance or advice. Hundreds of requests for assistance are submitted each month, and there are many cases and problems of unfairness and injustice which the ACLU-GA is simply unable to handle.
Ethical obligations limit the ACLU-GA’s ability to discuss legal issues with people who are represented by other lawyers. If you already have an attorney, please have your attorney contact the ACLU Foundation of Georgia if they feel that a constitutional issue is present and would like assistance from the ACLU-GA.
When the legal team reviews a case, they are looking not only for legal merit, but for other things that would make a case a worthwhile investment for ACLU-GA’s limited resources. They do not take cases that are primarily factual disputes, have little bearing on the rights of others, or do not involve a civil rights or civil liberties issue. Their failure to take a case does not necessarily mean they think it lacks legal merit.
This Legal Intake form does not give legal advice, and you should not rely on it as legal advice. You should not rely on the information you get from this site and should speak with a lawyer to get advice on your specific situation. The ACLU-GA cannot promise that the information on this site is complete, accurate, or up-to-date.
This Legal Intake form is not a solicitation or an offer by the ACLU Foundation of Georgia to represent you. We cannot promise you that the information you provide will lead to any specific action on the part of ACLU-GA.
By submitting information via this Legal Intake Form, you are not creating an attorney-client relationship with the ACLU Foundation of Georgia. If you fill out this Legal Intake form, you agree that ACLU-GA or the national ACLU may use the information you give us, as long as we don’t include your name, address, email or phone number, for one or more of the following purposes: (1) legislative testimony, (2) litigation; (3) contacting a city, state or federal agency; or (4) telling your story to the public, including the media. If ACLU-GA or the national ACLU wants to identify you, we will contact you prior to doing so.
We will keep your name, address, telephone number and email confidential unless you give us permission to use it or unless we are ordered to turn it over by a court (although we will attempt to prevent any disclosure).