ACLU LogographicJoin Us

Know Your Rights When Encountering Law Enforcement


The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty. We work daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.


"The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it." --John Hay

"It is easy to take liberty for granted when you have never had it taken from you."
--M. Grundler

"The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
--Frederick Douglass

Can the ACLU Help You?

The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU-NC) will provide free legal advice for Iraqi immigrants, Iraqi Americans, and others who may be contacted by the FBI.  Call 415.285.1055, a 24-hour hotline number.

For other civil liberties issues and possible ACLU-NC assistance, see Frequently Asked Questions."   For information about whether the Monterey County ACLU can help you, please read the following:

The ACLU is a private, non-profit membership organization. Our mission is to preserve and protect the civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, especially the principles contained in the Bill of Rights.

The Monterey County Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California is one of eleven chapters in Northern California. We only accept complaints from Monterey County, but you may contact other ACLU chapters in Northern California.

The ACLU is interested in redressing violations of civil liberties. It is our mandate to serve those who have been denied their fundamental rights. We take cases that raise significant constitutional or civil liberties issues and which impact others in the same situation. We cannot take all cases offered us. The Monterey Chapter of the ACLU has limited resources and must concentrate them where they are most needed. We are unable to take many cases, even those concerning real injustices. If our office does not pursue your complaint, it does not mean it is without merit. We may refer your case to the ACLU of Northern California.

Most of the ACLU's cases focus on instances in which government has infringed upon a person's privacy, religion, or speech or where the government has not followed proper procedures. The ACLU also handles cases involving discrimination on the basis of such things as a person's race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. In general, we do not handle cases that involve such things as evictions, tenant-landlord disputes, general disputes between employees and employers (for example, disputes centering on wages and hours), criminal prosecutions, divorce, child custody, or wills, unless they raise broader constitutional or civil rights concerns. However, there are other resources that may be able to assist you.

If you call our complaint line for assistance, there will be a number of questions that we may ask you to assist the ACLU in the evaluation of your grievance. Please be prepared to be as specific and detailed as possible.

If you believe that your civil liberties have been violated and would like to receive help from the Monterey County Chapter of the ACLU, call our Complaint Line at 831.622.9894. If a volunteer is not available and you need to speak to someone immediately, call the Northern California ACLU Civil Liberties Hotline at 415.621.2488; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 10 to noon and 1 to 3 pm; Wednesday 10 to noon and 1 to 2 pm. [Los lunes, entre 10 am y 2 pm, usted puede hablar en español, con un consejero de la línea telefónica--415.621.2488--de asistencia del ACLU.]

Didn't find what you were looking for? Search our website.
Questions? Email
This site was updated 2010-07-03.