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Department of Justice on Police Misconduct

When it comes to criminal charges, including those for driving under the influence (DUI), there are various defense strategies. Occasionally, a DUI case involves police misconduct and when it does, a skilled attorney can bring the police misconduct to light, shattering the allegations, thereby discrediting the case against a defendant.

According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), “The vast majority of the law enforcement officers in this country perform their very difficult jobs with respect for their communities and in compliance with the law. Even so, there are incidents in which this is not the case.” The DOJ goes on to say that “federal laws that address police misconduct include both criminal and civil statutes,” which cover the actions of local, county, and state officers. These laws protect everyone within the United States, including citizens and non-citizens alike.

Common Types of Police Misconduct

In criminal cases, the DOJ may actually try to punish the wrongdoer for misconduct, and the agency does this through imprisonment along with other sanctions. Per the DOJ, “It is a crime for one or more persons acting under color of law willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

Types of police misconduct under 18 U.S.C. § 241 & 242:

  • Sexual assault,
  • Excessive force,
  • Intentional false arrests, and
  • Intentional fabrication of evidence resulting in another’s loss of liberty.

In order for the DOJ to enforce any of the above provisions, it does not require that there be any racial, religious or discriminatory motivations on behalf of the officers. So, if someone is a victim of police misconduct, what are their legal remedies?

Aside from the suppression of evidence (where there are criminal charges against the victim), and dismissal of charges, other remedies include fines or imprisonment, or both a fine and imprisonment. However, the DOJ says, “There is no private right of action under these statutes; in other words, these are not the legal provisions under which you would file a lawsuit on your own.”

In addition to the above, 42 U.S.C. § 14141 makes it illegal for local and state law enforcement officers to engage in police misconduct which deprives a person of their rights under the law. This law covers various types of misconduct, including false arrests, coercive sexual conduct, and unlawful stops, searches and arrests.

Are You a Victim of Police Misconduct?

Do you believe your DUI stop or arrest was unlawful? Were you somehow a victim of police misconduct in Orange County? To learn more about your rights under state and federal law, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. today.