For the most part, police officers across Maryland do admirable work in protecting citizens. Nonetheless, law enforcement are not immune from making mistakes.
Errors or misconduct by law enforcement can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. For instance, a wrongful arrest or conviction can infringe upon the liberty of an individual. Additionally, convictions can have negative consequences in terms of employment and family life. Consequently, it is vital that the presumption of innocence is upheld and that law enforcement officers are held to account for their actions. Outlined below are some of the more common errors that police officers can make.
Although law enforcement is entitled to defend themselves and others when dealing with a violent perpetrator, physical force should only be used when necessary. When a person is fully cooperating, there is really no justification for the use of physical force. Misconduct does not always take on a physical form, it may also amount to threats, abusive language and other types of unprofessional behavior. The courts will tend to frown upon such conduct and it could have a significant bearing on a legal case.
A lack of probable cause
Police officers are not permitted to target people for arrest in an arbitrary manner. Routine behaviors, such as driving to work, visiting a friend or walking down the street are not criminal actions nor are they suspicious. For an officer to make an arrest, they must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is, or is about to take place. Such a suspicion is typically referred to as “probable cause.”
All suspects in criminal procedures remain innocent until proven guilty. If you are facing criminal charges in Maryland, it is in your best interests to gain a full understanding of the legal protections available to you. When police officers make arrests, they have to follow the law. If they don’t, that may become a significant part of your defense.