Friday, April 19, 2024

How To Press Charges Against A Police Officer

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What Happens If The Prosecutor Refuses To Press Charges

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A prosecutor might review the case and decide not enough evidence exists to bring the case forward. Or the prosecutor’s supervisor could decide that the prosecution office, as a whole, will focus its resources on certain types of cases and not others . In either case, the decision of the prosecutor or prosecution’s office is usually final.

For the most part, the prosecutor cannot be forced to press charges. In some cases, political or public pressure might sway the prosecutor to file charges. A prosecutor who’s under pressure might bring the case to a grand jury to decide if charges are warranted. While the prosecutor’s decision can’t generally be overruled, so long as the statute of limitations hasn’t expired , the prosecutor can change his or her mind and file charges later.

List Of Possible Criminal Charges

It is when police officers commit acts such as the following charges that criminal proceedings may be instigated:

  • Assault and battery
  • Ticket fixing
  • Homicide

Police officers have access to evidence such as controlled substances obtained from arrests and searches and many have stolen evidence either no longer used in criminal cases or never turned over for prosecutions following search and seizures to sell in unlawful drug transactions.

Other officers under the guise of professional courtesy have fixed tickets given to other officers or other public officials or after accepting bribes. These are criminal acts and can subject the officer to prosecution.

When Does The Independent Office For Police Conduct Investigate A Complaint

The Independent Office for Police Conduct investigates the most serious complaints against the police. Such as:

  • death,
  • serious injury, or
  • claims that officers have done something wrong.

Your police force must pass your complaint to the IOPC if you have made a serious complaint about the police. Your police force must also pass information to the IOPC about serious concerns, even if you havent made a complaint.

The IOPC has different levels of investigation. How they investigate will depend on how complicated or serious your complaint is.

For more information about the IPOC please see the previous section.

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Civil Lawsuits: Structural Reform

In some municipalities, civil rights lawsuits have resulted in findings of patterns of misconduct by officers. Where a department exhibits a pattern of violating the civil rights of citizens through the misconduct of its officers, state or federal courts may order relief in the form of structural reforms to the department, including changes to department policies, practices, training requirements, data collection, and internal review systems.

Prosecutors Press Criminal Charges Not Victims

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Victims play an important role in the charging process, often providing key evidence and testimony. In the above situation, the victim would likely give a statement to police regarding what happened. But it will be up to a government prosecutor, not the victim, to decide whether to file criminal charges against the suspect. Several reasons exist for this system of decision making.

Crime Impacts the Public

Crimes affect more than individual victims they impact the community as a wholeits sense of safety and well-being. Just as city, county, state, and federal law enforcement protect the public and investigate crimes, society uses public attorneys to prosecute criminal actors. Depending on where you live, prosecutors might be referred to as district attorneys, state attorneys, city prosecutors, assistant attorneys, commonwealth attorneys, or something similar.

Prosecutors’ Responsibilities and Ethical Duties

Prosecutors have an ethical duty to see that justice is donewhich doesn’t necessarily mean winning a case. A prosecutor must consider the needs of the victim and society and make decisions based on the facts, the evidence, and the law. Prosecutors must also weigh the potential harm in wrongly pursuing a case or pursuing a case too soon.

Accountability and Impartiality

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What Happens After The Police Investigate My Complaint

After the police have finished investigating your complaint, they will tell you what will happen next. They may:

  • apologise to you,
  • change their policies or procedures,
  • speak to the person you complained about to improve their performance,
  • refer your complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct if they think something serious has happened, or
  • refer your complaint to the Crown Prosecution Service if they believe that a member of staff has committed a crime.

Unfortunately, the police may not always have enough evidence to take any action. If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you can appeal.

How To Press Charges After An Assault

Are you the victim of an assault? Maybe you know someone who is, or youve witnessed one take place. Either way, an assault is a serious offense in the eyes of the law, and pressing charges against an individual or group of people is an effective way to begin the process of finding justice, closure, and peace. Whether youve seen an assault happen or experienced it firsthand, it is extremely important to know what your options are. Heres a look at how to press charges after an assault:

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How Long Do You Have To Press Charges For Assault

The amount of time you have to press charges for an assault depends on your states statute of limitations, which typically ranges from a couple of years to six years. However, it is always advisable to report the crime regardless of how long it has been. The sooner you press charges for the assault, the better the investigation will be.

Keep in mind, in instances where people are assaulted but police officers were not called on the scene or did not arrive on the scene in time, people can still press charges against their assailants by following the appropriate channels. To learn more, heres a look at how long do you have to file a police report.

Is It Misconduct When Police Commit Perjury

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Police misconduct also includes committing perjury. Police officers perjure themselves when they lie while under oath. They can do this:

  • during trial,
  • in police reports, or
  • in affidavits supporting probable cause for a search or arrest warrant.

This can make the resulting warrant invalid. Using the warrant can violate the victims Fourth Amendment rights.

Perjury is also a crime. It can lead to charges of offering false evidence, as well.

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Can Police Misconduct Lead To Criminal Prosecution

Police agency misconduct can be so egregious that it leads to criminal prosecution. The officer can be charged with a crime.18

Criminal charges against police for misconduct are rare. They often only come after truly outrageous conduct, such as severe police brutality, sexual assault, police shootings, or planting evidence. They tend to only be filed after the victim or his or her family file a lawsuit and begin to uncover damning evidence.

What Happens After The Prosecutor Presses Charges

Let’s say the prosecutor files the charges or the grand jury issues an indictment. The suspectnow defendantwill appear before the judge for a hearing to be notified of the charges being filed and the right to an attorney. If the defendant can’t afford an attorney, the judge might appoint a public defender. The judge will also evaluate the prosecutor’s charges and make a neutral decision on whether the evidence supports the charges. If bail issues remain, the defendant might argue for a lower bail amount or to be released on the promise to appear . At this point, the court will likely set future court dates for pretrial motions and hearings. You can learn more about these hearings and the criminal justice process on our Criminal Law page.

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What Should I Do If The Police Want To Talk To Me

I recommend that you should not speak to the police on any criminal investigation all without an attorney.

Remember, you are never obligated to talk to the police. But they may keep calling if they want to question you, for whatever reason.

They can come to your home, or your work and the continuous requests and contacts they make can be quite threatening and intimidating. They are calling to you gather evidence for a case, very possibly against you.

Can Evidence Found Through The Misconduct Be Excluded From Court

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Victims in police misconduct cases can find themselves facing a criminal charge. Evidence may have been obtained by violating the suspects civil rights. The defense can bring a suppression motion asking that this evidence be excluded from trial. Without the evidence obtained through the misconduct, the prosecutor may have little else to use.

Misconduct victims can also file a civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983

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New York City Department Of Correction

  • How do I find out if the person who committed a crime against me is incarcerated?
  • The Victim Information and Notification Everyday is a 24-hour service that provides you with automated notifications of the release dates and status of people incarcerated in the New York City Department of Correction or State Department of Corrections jail and prison systems. When you sign up, V.I.N.E. will ask if you prefer to be notified by text, phone call, and/or email.
  • You may sign up for V.I.N.E. or learn more about V.I.N.E. by calling 888-846-3469 or TDD 866-847-1298.
  • The following resources are available if you would like further information about an inmate:
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • What if the person who committed a crime against me goes to federal prison? How do I find out if he/she is incarcerated?
  • Victims of federal crimes are entered into the Victim and Witness Notification System through the Federal Bureau of Prisons. If you were not automatically entered into the VNS and wish to be, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the jurisdiction where the offender was prosecuted.
  • VNS will notify you when the offender reaches the release date, if he/she escapes, is granted a furlough , is transferred to a residential reentry center , has an upcoming parole hearing, dies, or is placed in a residential reentry center .
  • What is the difference between a jail and a prison?
  • A prison is for people who have been convicted of a felony. Prisons are run by the state and federal governments.
  • Filing Charges With The Police And Prosecutor

  • 1Gather potential witnesses. If the assault took place in the presence of witnesses, contact those witnesses as soon as possible after the assault. It is important to do this as soon as possible after the assault so that it is easier to track down the witnesses and so that the incident is fresh in their memories.
  • 2Write down the details of the assault. To press charges against your assailant, you will need to visit your local police department, particularly in those situations in which police officers were not called or did not arrive at the scene of the crime.XResearch source Before visiting the police department, write down the details of how the assault occurred and the name and any other information you have about your assailant. The police will ask you for this information, and it will be easier to recall this information if you have it written down.Advertisement
  • 3Visit your local police department. Once you have written down the information necessary to press charges against your assailant, visit your local police department to report the assault.XResearch source Take the information you wrote down about the assault with you to the police station.
  • 5Provide the police with the relevant information. When you visit your local police department, the police officer in charge of your case will file an assault report. To file this report, the officer will require from you information about the assault and the assailant.XResearch source This information includes:
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    Laying A Criminal Charge

    Second, if you believe a police officer has committed a criminal offence, you can lay a criminal charge against the officer. To lay a criminal charge, you need to meet with a justice of the peace, and swear on oath that a crime has been committed and explain the details of the event. Depending on the type of criminal offence in question, there may be a time-limit for when charges can be laid. You should consult a lawyer for assistance.

    Lodge A Complaint About Police Misconduct

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    You may lodge a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate if you want them to investigate:

    • deaths in police custody
    • deaths as a result of police actions
    • any complaint relating to the discharge of an official firearm by any police officer
    • rape by a police officer, whether the police officer is on or off duty
    • rape of any person while in police custody
    • any complaint of torture or assault against a police officer in the execution of duties.

    You must open a case at your nearest police station and only report to the IPID Office if the police fail to assist you.

    Find out more about lodging a complaint or contact the Independent Police Investigative Directorate on 012 399 0000.

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    Proving The Untrue Statements

    In a civil defamation case, the burden is on you to prove that the accusations made against you were false. Truth is an absolute defense to defamation, so if there are facts to back up the person’s statement, you are not entitled to compensation it’s not enough to show that the person was wrong about some of the details. You also can’t sue someone for defamation for merely expressing an opinion. You must have clear and convincing evidence that what was said about you was categorically untrue, such as documents, emails, timelines and witness testimony.


    • You can’t press charges for false accusations, but you may be able to sue the person who made the untrue statements in civil court and obtain a monetary award against him.


    The Process Of Pressing Charges For Misdemeanors & Felonies

    If theres a situation where youve had an interaction with the police that you believe will lead to charges being filed but that has yet to happen, it could be for a number of reasons. The process of filing charges is one that varies depending on whether the charges are felony or misdemeanor. Being aware of how law enforcement will formally press charges against a suspected criminal can help you determine whether or not charges are being filed against you.

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    How To Press Charges For False Accusations

    You can’t stop people from filing police reports, even if they are false. It’s up to the police to investigate the complaint and take the appropriate action. If someone lied out of hand, then the police may charge the person with obstructing a police investigation but again, this is the police’s call, not yours. The only option you have is suing someone for defamation of character if the statements made against you were completely untrue but were not expressed as an opinion.

    How Will A Police

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    Typically, we do not want to bring the civil claims regarding police misconduct or brutality until the criminal case is resolved.

    The primary reason for that is there is a U.S. Supreme Court case called Heck v. Humphrey that holds that if the resolution of the criminal case will necessarily decide the issue of whether force was excessive, then you cant even pursue that civil case. If you want to bring a claim for excessive force against a police officer and you are charged with a crime of violence, the crime of violence with which you are charged could preclude the use of force you claim is excessive from being found by a court to be excessive. If you wind up pleading guilty or no contest to that criminal charge, or are convicted of it by a jury, your civil claim is automatically going to be extinguished.

    What we will often recommend to our clients, as long as there is time before the statute of limitations runs out, is to work with their criminal-defense attorney to resolve whatever it is that they are being charged with and then worry about a civil claim. In the meantime, we can try to quietly investigate what happened. We do not want to draw too much attention to the fact that there may be a civil claim coming. Because unscrupulous prosecutors will sometimes double down, or insist on a release of civil liability before they will drop charges.

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    Citizens Cannot Arrest You Or Charge You

    Im pressing charges against them, says the person who thinks another individual stole from them.

    While this may sound dramatic and actionable, the reality is that individuals who are victims of crimes are not the ones responsible for pressing charges. Yes, individuals do report crimes to the police. The police will investigate and maybe make an arrest. Together with prosecutors, it will be decided whether or not to press charges and pursue the case. Unless a police officer observes a crime, they have to gather evidence and other information in order to recommend that the prosecutors bring charges against the individual alleged to have committed the crime.

    The victim of an alleged crime will not be the one to press charges, but their willingness to testify and cooperate with law enforcement officials and prosecutors will typically be a crucial point in the case against the defendant.

    How To Report Falsehoods On Police Reports

    This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. He received his JD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998 and his PhD in American History from the University of Oregon in 2013.There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 26,767 times.

    A person files a false police report when they knowingly make false statements to the police. In other words, they know the statements are false when they make them. It is not enough that they are simply wrong about the details.XResearch source If you suspect that a police report contains false information, then you should find evidence that shows the statements are false. Then you should bring this evidence to the attention of the police. If you were harmed by a false police report, then you can sue for money compensation.

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