Daily Archives - November 5, 2013

Concerns about excessive force during DWI arrests

When police arrest you over suspicion of any crime, including DWI, there are certain protocols they’re required to follow; their behavior is constrained by law.  And while many arrests take place without improper conduct from police, there are unfortunately times when police officers use excessive force against an individual they’re arresting.

Recently, a man in Carrollton, Texas won a suit against an officer who had used excessive force against him during a DWI arrest, in a jail intake facility.  According to a piece from Fox-4 Dallas Fort Worth, the man (whose DWI charges wound up getting dropped) suffered a concussion and some other minor injuries as a result of getting pushed violently against a wall.

When people get arrested for DWI, they may be especially vulnerable to acts of excessive force from the police.  If they’re truly intoxicated, for instance, they may tend to be more argumentative with the cops, stagger into them accidentally, and in general move more slowly.  Police could interpret these actions as resistance to arrest or general uncooperativeness.  Even when an individual isn’t intoxicated, they might still be vulnerable; if they question the reason they’re getting pulled over or show even the slightest sign of not being fully cooperative (according to police interpretation), they might also be subjected to excessive force.

How does one determine whether the police behaved reasonably versus used excessive force? Different factors to evaluate include the following:

The suspect’s behavior.  What were they allegedly doing that seemed to call for a more severe use of force? Were they really being uncooperative, resisting arrest, or posing a threat to police officers?

The extent of the injuries.

The actions permitted a police officer in a given jurisdiction.

In these cases, it’s also important to go over evidence from witnesses and from any camera footage.

The general conduct of police during a DWI arrest could play an important role in how you defend yourself against the charge.  Every aspect of police behavior, from what they said and did to you during an arrest to how they gathered evidence, needs to be examined.  Beyond that, you should know that no matter what you’re arrested for, you deserve to be treated fairly and humanely.