The United States Constitution protects people from many types of discrimination and unreasonable government actions. Unfair treatment by police or other government agencies could violate a person’s constitutional rights.
When this happens, certain Federal laws allow people to sue the government for damages. People cannot sue for violations of the constitution for Washington State, but some state laws still protect individuals from unfair government treatment. If you believe your civil rights have been violated, contact us today to schedule a consultation.
The U.S. Constitution limits the force a police officer can use when arresting someone – officers can’t use any more force than what is reasonable in a situation. If no force is needed then any force can be too much force. But, if someone is violently resisting a valid arrest, the officer can do what is reasonable to get him or her under control. If you were punched or beaten before being arrested, tackled to the ground when you were following orders, or were a victim of rough police treatment, you may have a claim for excessive force.
Police can only make an arrest without a warrant in certain situations, depending on the type of crime. More serious crimes give officers more lee-way for making arrests, but rules still exist. If an officer sees a crime occur, she can almost always make an arrest, but the less information she has the less reason she has to make an arrest. If you were arrested based on a false tip or allegations, or if you were in your home when arrested and did not do what you were accused of, it is possible that the police violated your constitutional rights.
You can’t be pulled over for no reason at all. Generally, police must see you break a traffic law or have reason to think that you committed a crime. Police can’t just have a “hunch” someone is up to no good, they need to say why. If you were stopped without justification, your rights may have been violated.
Police officers usually need to get a warrant before searching a person or their home. There are exceptions, but the Constitution sets out rules that officers must follow when performing searches. If the police came into your home without a warrant or permission from someone living there, you might be able to do something about it. Contact us for more information about when searches without warrants are allowed and to find out if your rights have been violated.