What Californians Should Know About Police Misconduct Claims
Police misconduct is a subject that usually triggers strong emotions in California. While the police are given certain powers to perform their duties, California law has limits to how they should enforce them. If police violate the rights of citizens by acting past the scope of their position, citizens have the legal recourse through the laws allowing the injured parties to enforce constitutional rights.
The legal doctrine of government protects officers’ actions from liability while on their job. This is generally a rule that the government can never be sued unless it grants permission to do so. Individuals can feel uncomfortable and even emotionally distressed when stopped and questioned by police. But if an officer is performing their job correctly, then they have not violated a person’s constitutional rights. In short, you cannot sue a police officer for considerable actions taken while on a job.
It seems so unfair that the government can refuse to be sued. But several federal and California laws have been enacted to allow victims of police misconduct to file suit as well as receive money damages. There are various common California police misconduct claims, including malicious prosecution, false arrest, false imprisonment, and use of excessive force.
A false arrest claim usually asserts that police lacked probable cause to arrest an individual. Probable cause means that there are adequate facts for a reasonable person to believe that an offense was committed. It is good to know that a warrant is not needed to arrest a person for a felony or misdemeanor committed in the presence of a police officer.
A malicious prosecution claim asserts that the government took legal action against a person without a probable cause. An excessive force generally says that the use of force by an officer was not reasonable given the facts and the circumstances of the case.
Pursuing a Sacramento police misconduct claim can be a complicated procedure that should be accurately followed in a timely manner. For state claims like false imprisonment and false arrest, a notice of claim should be filed with the police agency within six months of the incident to preserve the right to sue. After filing the notice of claim, you will be given six months to file a lawsuit.
When proving your case in California, you must have the evidence to support the claim. If you believe that you were a victim of police misconduct, you can take steps to make sure that you don’t lose valuable evidence.