Person wearing a police vest and police car lights

Excessive Force & Police Misconduct

Faussette & Faussette April 6, 2022

Police misconduct involves various unethical actions of the police or law enforcement officers that violate a person’s constitutional rights. This includes beating members of the public, planting evidence, excessive use of force, or obtaining evidence through unlawful search or seizure. Unfortunately, individuals involved in police misconduct cases often find themselves facing criminal accusations.

If you’re the victim of police misconduct or if you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime unlawfully, it is crucial that you hire an aggressive and highly-skilled criminal defense attorney for proper guidance and to help build your defense. At Faussette & Faussette PLLC, I am dedicated to offering comprehensive legal counsel and reliable representation to clients facing unlawful criminal charges. I proudly serve clients throughout the greater Phoenix area.

Understanding Police Misconduct

Police misconduct is any illegal or unethical act committed by police or law enforcement officers during their expected duties. Also, police misconduct comprises any action by a police officer that violates an individual’s constitutional rights.

Examples of Police Misconduct

Some common examples of police misconduct include:

  • Excessive force

  • False arrest or imprisonment

  • Police brutality

  • Malicious prosecution

  • Failure to intervene

  • Physically abusing and torturing suspects in police custody

  • Sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct

  • Torture to force confessions

  • Abuse of authority

  • Causing unnecessary injury to an individual

Unfortunately, victims in police misconduct cases or unlawful actions by law enforcement officers may actually find themselves facing a criminal charge or wrongful conviction. A knowledgeable Arizona criminal defense attorney can help you understand what qualifies as excessive force or police misconduct and determine the best course of action.

What Qualifies as Excessive Force?

Excessive force involves a situation whereby a police officer makes use of force above what is considered reasonably necessary to arrest a person, diffuse a threat, or protect themselves or other people from imminent danger.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-403, the use of physical force upon another person which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal under any of the following circumstances:

  • A parent or guardian and a teacher may use reasonable and appropriate physical force upon the minor to maintain discipline.

  • A superintendent, prison, or jail official may use physical force to preserve peace, maintain order or discipline, or prevent a felony or misdemeanor.

  • A person responsible for maintaining order may use reasonably necessary physical force or deadly physical force to prevent serious physical injury or death.

  • A person may use reasonable physical force to prevent another person from committing suicide or inflicting serious physical injury upon themselves.

  • A duly licensed physician or a registered nurse may use reasonable physical force to administer a lawful treatment.

However, when a law enforcement officer exceeds the reasonable and appropriate physical force necessary against an alleged or defendant suspect, it may be considered to be excessive force. In such circumstances, the non-compliant police officer may be held responsible — or even indicted for a crime — for using excessive or deadly force.

Excluding Evidence Found
Through Misconduct

The exclusionary rule prevents the government from making use of most evidence obtained in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Under the rule, the Arizona court may exclude any incriminating evidence from being introduced during the trial if there is convincing proof that such evidence was gathered through misconduct, illegal means, or in violation of the alleged offender’s constitutional rights.

Therefore, if the police officers obtained the evidence against you through misconduct, improper search, or using excessive force, your defense counsel can invoke the exclusionary rule. Thus, preventing such evidence from being introduced at trial. A skilled criminal defense attorney can enlighten you about why police officers use excessive force and decide the best way to proceed with your legal battle.

Reasons an Officer May Claim
to Have Used Excessive Force

There are different reasons why a law enforcement officer may claim to have used excessive force on another person. These include:

  • Self-defense

  • The offense committed was very serious.

  • The suspect appeared to pose imminent harm or threat to the police officer or other persons.

  • The victim or suspect was trying to flee or resisting arrest.

  • The victim attacked the police officer during the arrest.

  • The use of excessive force was necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

If you or someone you know has recently been a victim of excessive force and police misconduct, you need to get in touch with a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. Your attorney can offer you the detailed guidance, support, and vigorous representation you need to fight the unlawful accusations levied against you.

Legal Advocacy You Can Trust

Law enforcement officers have a duty to prevent crimes, apprehend offenders, and keep citizens safe. Unfortunately, some police officers may step out of line and abuse their authority and privilege. In such situations, police misconduct victims may find themselves facing criminal charges. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can evaluate your available legal options and help fight for the justice you deserve.

It is vital for you to reach out to my firm, Faussette & Faussette PLLC, today to schedule a simple case assessment. I possess the aggressive representation and highly-personalized legal guidance you need to fight your police misconduct case. I proudly serve clients throughout the Valley and its surrounding cities and across the state of Arizona, including Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, and Goodyear.