10 Examples of Police Misconduct to Refer to for Your Case

If you’re navigating the criminal justice system as a defendant, having comprehensive knowledge about police misconduct is critical. Police misconduct generally refers to actions by law enforcement officers that are inappropriate or unlawful. 

By understanding common types of police misconduct, you can question the validity of evidence being used against you and challenge officer conduct in your case, which can be favorable for your defense. 

Here are ten examples you should be aware of:

1. Racial Profiling

This involves targeting individuals for suspicion of a crime based on the person’s race rather than any specific behavior or information indicating they are engaged in criminal activity. If your arrest seems to have been influenced more by this factor than concrete evidence of wrongdoing, it’s essential to challenge this bias as part of your defense strategy.

2. Wrongful Arrest

A wrongful arrest occurs when law enforcement detains someone without the requisite probable cause or an arrest warrant. If your arrest did not meet these legal standards, emphasizing this failure can form a strong part of your defense.

3. Mishandling Evidence

Proper handling of evidence is crucial in maintaining its integrity and ensuring a fair trial. Mishandling can include not properly securing the crime scene, incorrect marking or storage leading to contamination, loss of evidence, or breaking the chain of custody. 

No matter what you’re charged with – whether it’s theft or murder – if it’s identified that critical evidence in your case was mishandled by law enforcement, this could be used to challenge the prosecution’s case against you. It could potentially lead to a dismissal of your charges or a not guilty verdict if it can be shown that proper procedures were not followed.

4. Sexual Misconduct

Among the most troubling forms of police misconduct is when officers abuse their position to take advantage sexually of those they encounter. Offensive language, unnecessary searches, unwelcome advances, and even sexual assault and rape are clear examples. If you have experienced sexual misconduct during your interaction with law enforcement, report it to your lawyer right away.

5. Lying Under Oath

When law enforcement officers provide false testimony or submit dishonest reports concerning the details of investigations or arrests, it severely undermines the justice system’s integrity. If there is evidence that an officer lied under oath in your case, this could be a crucial factor in questioning their credibility and challenging any evidence they’ve presented.

6. Excessive Force

Law enforcement officers are only allowed to use an amount of force that is proportional and necessary for a situation. When police officers apply more physical coercion or violence than needed, given the circumstances, it is known as excessive force. This can result in severe physical harm or even death. If you believe excess force was involved in your encounter with law enforcement, eyewitness accounts and medical reports could be significant evidence to help your case.

7. Illegal Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution guards against unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement. To legally search your property or person, police typically need a warrant backed by probable cause unless clearly defined exceptions (like consent or immediate danger) apply. 

If a search was conducted without adhering to these rules, any evidence obtained from that unlawful search could be inadmissible in court — potentially causing serious damage to the prosecutor’s case against you.

8. Witness Tampering

This form of police misconduct involves attempts by law enforcement officers to alter, influence, intimidate, or otherwise obstruct the testimony of witnesses in criminal proceedings. It can range from subtle suggestions designed to shape a witness’s testimony more favorably for the prosecution to outright threats against a witness’s safety should they choose to testify truthfully.

9. Substance Abuse on the Job

Law enforcement officers are held to high standards of professional conduct, which includes showing up for duty unimpaired by alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse on the job can lead to impaired judgment and decreased response time. In some cases, it may contribute to incidents of excessive force or other forms of misconduct.

If you have credible reasons to believe that an officer involved in your case was under the influence of substances at the time of your arrest or during crucial phases of evidence collection, this could have a substantial impact on the validity and legality of their actions. 

10. Planting Evidence

This represents one of the most serious types of police misconduct. It involves law enforcement officers intentionally fabricating evidence to falsely implicate someone in a crime. If there’s reason to believe an officer has planted evidence against you, it can significantly undermine the prosecution’s case and may even result in a complete dismissal of your charges.

A Rhode Island Criminal Defense Attorney Can Protect You Against Police Misconduct

Knowing the common forms of police misconduct can be essential to winning your case, as it shapes how you and your legal team respond to the charges.

If you suspect any misconduct by law enforcement in your case, take action immediately.

For more information, please contact the Providence criminal defense attorneys of Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys for a free consultation, give us a call at 401-854-7794 or visit our convenient location:

Manosh Payette Criminal Defense Attorneys – Providence Criminal Defense Attorney
101 Dyer St Suite 2D,
Providence, RI 02903, United States