Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

Can the California police hit you during an arrest?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Police officers play a vital role in maintaining law and order. However, questions often arise about the extent of force they can use during an arrest. 

In California, the law sets clear boundaries for police conduct to ensure the protection of individuals’ rights.

Understanding Excessive Force

Excessive force refers to more physical power than necessary to subdue a suspect. California law allows police officers to use reasonable force to make an arrest, prevent escape, or overcome resistance. However, this force must align with what an average officer would deem necessary under similar circumstances. Excessive force becomes illegal when it goes beyond this standard, causing unnecessary harm.

Legal Limits on Police Force

California Penal Code Section 835a outlines the guidelines for police use of force. Officers may use force if they believe it is needed to make an arrest, defend themselves, or protect others from harm. However, this belief must be reasonable. Officers cannot use force as punishment or out of anger. The law requires them to try to de-escalate situations when possible, using force only as a last resort.

Consequences for Excessive Force

Police officers who use excessive force can face serious consequences. Those injured by police brutality can file a complaint with the police department or a lawsuit in civil court. If the court finds the officer used excessive force, the individual might receive compensation for injuries and damages. In severe cases, the officer could face criminal charges, leading to fines, job loss, or even prison time.

Your Rights During an Arrest

Individuals have rights that protect them during an arrest. These include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If a person believes an officer used excessive force, they should report it as soon as possible. Documenting injuries and gathering witness statements can help in any legal proceedings that follow.

Staying Informed

Understanding your rights and the limits of police authority is important. Knowledge of the law helps individuals protect themselves and seek justice if their rights are violated. Always stay informed and assert your rights calmly and clearly if you find yourself in such a situation.