What Counts as Police Misconduct?

In our experience, the vast majority of people who work in law enforcement are good individuals who perform their very difficult jobs to the best of their abilities. They perform their duties in compliance with the law and with respect for the citizens of the community.

But in every sector, there are a few bad, or even rotten apples. We’ve all heard about corrupt public officials, politicians, and law enforcement officers who believe they are “above the law.” Such individuals may be greedy. They may accept bribes, set innocent people up, break state or federal laws, physically assault citizens, make wrongful arrests, engage in self-dealing, commit sexual assaults, and so on.

This page on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) website explains how police misconduct is addressed in both state and federal statutes. Such laws cover the misconduct of local, state, and county officers, as well as individuals who work in the jails and prisons. “The laws protect all persons in the United States (citizens and non-citizens),” according to the DOJ.

What Texas Law Says About Police Misconduct

If you believe you have been a victim of police misconduct, please know that you are not alone. In fact, our state has enacted laws against the various abuses of office under Title 8, Chapter 39 of the Texas Penal Code.

Several of the criminal offenses under Chapter 39 include:

  • Abuse of official capacity
  • Official oppression
  • Violation of the civil rights of person in custody
  • Improper sexual activity with person in custody or supervision
  • Failure to report the death of a prisoner
  • Misuse of official information

The crimes listed under Chapter 39 are both misdemeanors and felonies depending on the nature and seriousness of the offense. If you were recently arrested for a crime and you believe that you are a victim of police misconduct, we urge you to contact our Plano criminal defense firm immediately for legal assistance. Your situation is urgent and we’d like to help by defending your legal rights!

Related: What is a Motion to Suppress?

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