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What Are Examples of Unethical Police Actions?

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What Are Examples of Unethical Police Actions?

Wrongful and unethical police misconduct can upend your life, making you go through a difficult and unnecessary experience in the criminal justice system that could threaten your freedom. The police misconduct attorneys at the Helbraun police misconduct law firm have a track record of helping victims of police misconduct fight back. 

Law enforcement has an obligation to protect both the innocent and respect the community’s constitutional rights. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way in practice, as overzealous or malfeasant police officers act unethically. You can and should hold them accountable when the unethical becomes the illegal. 

Call the Helbraun police misconduct law firm in San Francisco when you think that police did something wrong, and you want to talk to a San Francisco police misconduct lawyer. We will review your case and advise you whether you have a potential lawsuit against the police department.

You Can File a Lawsuit When Necessary

Some police actions cross the line from being unethical to being illegal. You can sue the police department when their actions violate your civil rights. Federal law makes many actions that you may think are just wrong to be legally actionable, that could lead to discipline against the police department or financial compensation for you. 

Evidence Tampering

How police handle evidence is often a matter of ethics. They have a legal obligation to only use legitimate evidence and not to tamper with it in any way. However, police may go as far as to plant evidence when they want to press charges and win a conviction. Police may destroy evidence which could possibly clear your name. Remember that law enforcement does not have to go as far as plant or falsify evidence to violate your rights. They could use subtle tricks around the margins to bolster their own case and harm yours. 

Illegal Questioning

Police know full well about your Miranda rights, and they are guessing that you are well-informed too. However, the police officer may skillfully dance around the edges of your Miranda rights, knowing that they cannot come straight out and ask you questions at certain points of your arrest process. The police officer can try to elicit information using very skillful wording that does not reach the point of an actual question because they want to get you talking. Unfortunately, courts have been chipping away at some of your Miranda rights by upholding these forms of “questioning” when they have been challenged on appeal.

Lying on Police Reports

Police have a legal obligation under California law to tell the truth when they write a report. The officer may be trying to cover up their role in an arrest, especially when they may have used excessive force. Not only is this unethical, but it is also illegal. Recently, two Los Angeles police officers were ordered to stand trial when they were found to have lied on a police report after a traffic stop. The officers were trying to hide the fact that they ran a suspect over with their vehicle. 

Using Unreliable Witnesses

Law enforcement is supposed to “consider the source.” Of course, police often rely on informants. Subject to certain bounds, there may be nothing wrong with that practice. However, police may arrest you based on testimony that they know could be false because they simply feel pressure to make an arrest. They may know that the witness has a history of lying or a particular motive to wrongfully implicate you. Nonetheless, police may want to make an arrest and hand the matter over to the prosecutor, so they can get credit for it. 

Overcharging Crimes

This unethical practice is more on the part of the prosecutor, but law enforcement may overcharge you with certain crimes that they know they could struggle to prove in court. The goal is to enhance their own leverage in plea bargain negotiations when you are afraid of being sentenced to a far worse penalty in court. If you do not agree to a plea bargain, the prosecutor could be going to court on charges that they know they cannot prove. The prosecutor may even drop the charges entirely if the case proceeds too far along the road to trial. 

Some instances of unethical conduct by police cross the line. You may be able to file a civil rights lawsuit for certain instances of police misconduct.

Contact a San Francisco Police Misconduct Lawyer Today

You can hold the police accountable for misconduct, and calling David Helbraun Law is the first step in that fight. You can discuss your case with David M. Helbraun or a member of his team when you schedule a free consultation. Call us today at 415-982-4000, or message us through our website to speak with a police misconduct attorney in San Francisco. 

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