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Things Police Officers Can And Cannot Do


According to statistics, about one percent of all police officers commit misconduct in a given year. When you think of police misconduct, you probably think about things such as torture or police brutality. However, police misconduct encompasses more than just brutality and torture. Police misconduct involves any unethical or illegal activities that police officers engage in. It includes the violation of an individual’s constitutional rights.

When a police officer engages in misconduct, they can be punished just like anyone else. A police officer can, among other things, be sent to jail, ordered to serve probation, or ordered to pay monetary fines, if found guilty of engaging in a behavior that goes against the law. Additionally, if a police officer’s misconduct leads to you being charged with a crime, your charges could be dismissed. For example, if an officer obtained the evidence they have against you through illegal means, your charges could be dismissed. If you were charged with a crime, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney to find out if they can uncover police misconduct that could help your case.

What Things Can Police Officers Not Do?

Below are some common things that police officers do that they are not allowed to do:

Conducting Illegal Searches and Seizures

The Fourth Amendment grants you the right to be free from unreasonable/illegal searches and seizures. Usually, for an officer to conduct a legal search and seizure, they need to either have a warrant or probable cause. If an officer conducts an illegal search and finds evidence, the evidence may be inadmissible in court.

Falsely Arresting People

A police officer cannot falsely arrest you. Generally, for an officer to make a lawful arrest, they must have probable cause. If you believe you were falsely arrested, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney who can help you assess your case and determine if indeed, you were falsely arrested.

Conducting Illegal Interrogations

When conducting interrogations, police officers are required to follow strict constitutional rules. Interrogation rules are in place to protect your right against self-incrimination. Before police officers can begin questioning you after an arrest, they must inform you of your right to remain silent and right to legal counsel. A violation of your Miranda rights can lead to evidence being considered inadmissible.

Tampering With Evidence

Police officers are not allowed to tamper with evidence, including “planting” evidence to make an unlawful search appear legal.

What Things Can Police Officers Do?

So, what are law enforcement officers allowed to do? Below are some of the things that police officers can do;

  • A police officer can lie to you to obtain information or a confession. However, there are limits to what law enforcement officers can lie about. For example, an officer cannot lie about having a warrant.
  • A police officer can arrest you even without a warrant. If an officer has probable cause, they can arrest you, even if they don’t have a warrant.
  • A police officer can search your vehicle, home, or person without a warrant if the evidence is in “plain sight.”

Contact a London Criminal Defense Attorney

If you were charged with a crime and need help uncovering if there is police misconduct that could help your case, call a London criminal defense attorney at 606-770-5400.



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