While most police officers take great pride in doing the right thing at all times, this doesn't always hold true. Police misconduct can come into play at any point, thus putting you in a difficult situation.
Understanding the most common types of police misconduct can help you protect yourself and legal rights. Here are three common examples:
- Illegal search and seizure: This is one of the most common ways in which police abuse their power. If an officer partakes in illegal search and seizure, it could result in your arrest. It also means that your Forth Amendment rights were violated. Fortunately, if this is the case, you'll have a strong defense strategy to protect your legal rights.
- Excessive force: Yes, there are times when police must use force to disarm a person or calm down a situation. However, there's a difference between force and excessive force. For example, if an officer hits a suspect with a police baton for no reason, it's considered excessive and unnecessary force.
- Misuse of their power: It goes without saying that police officers have a lot of power. Unfortunately, there are times when they use this power for their own private gain. Subsequently, it can result in your legal rights being violated. A common example of misuse of position or power is asking a suspect for cash in exchange for letting them go.
It's your hope that you never have a run-in with police, but if this happens, pay close attention to the way you're treated. There's always a chance that police misconduct could occur, which brings additional circumstances into play.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of police misconduct or police harassment, collect evidence and learn as much about your legal rights as possible. There's never a good time to ignore what happened and hope that everything works out in the end.
By consulting with a criminal defense attorney, you'll better understand your legal rights, how to protect them and the steps you can take to hold the officer and their department responsible.
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