The use of excessive force during an arrest does in fact violate the Fourth Amendment; however determining what constitutes excessive force is no easy task. What is considered as excessive force is subjective, and it can mean different things in various jurisdictions. Generally, excessive force is considered force beyond what is necessary to subdue a suspect while keeping the officer and bystanders safe. A police officer who feels they are in danger can use deadly force against a suspect in order to protect themselves.
According to the Chief of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, once compliance by the suspect is obtained, any force beyond that can be considered excessive. When a suspect resists arrest, the officer can counter it to a certain extent. If a suspect believes they suffered from excessive force, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can review the facts of the case and determine if excessive force was used on their client.
Excessive Force Lawsuits Against Police
A suspect who feels that they are the victim of excessive force and wants to pursue legal action should retain a lawyer as soon as possible. In such cases, the plaintiff usually claims the use of excessive force is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits against unreasonable seizures. The plaintiff has to prove that the excessive force was not necessary and that they were complying with the officer, which can be challenging.
Other jurisdictions ask for more than a preponderance of evidence, requiring the plaintiff prove excessive force by showing convincing evidence. It is important to note that in every state, being guilty of a crime is never considered a defense for an officer in an excessive force case.
Additional Challenges for Plaintiffs in Excessive Force Cases
Under the Eleventh Amendment, states have governmental immunity, protecting them from lawsuits by private citizens. Some municipalities have the same protection. Some jurisdictions also have qualified immunity, which absolves public employees of liability for injuries they cause while employed.
What Should I Do After a Police Offer Uses Excessive Force?
If one believes a police officer used excessive force, they should immediately contact a lawyer who is familiar with criminal law. A lawyer will be able to review the case and protect the rights of their client. In addition, a lawyer may be able to reduce criminal charges after excessive force was used.
Haddonfield Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Protect Clients Against Police Officers Who Use Excessive Force
Proving excessive force was used during an arrest is challenging, which is why you should speak to one of our Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers at Agre & St. John. Our lawyers protect the accused and defend their rights. We might be able to reduce your charges. Contact us online or call us at 856-428-7797 for an initial consultation today. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.