When conducting an arrest, police must obey a number of strict regulations. One of the roles of the defense attorney is to examine the circumstances surrounding an arrest to determine whether all of these regulations were followed. Episodes of police brutality, discriminatory behavior or unlawful search and seizure are not only illegal, but they can also lead to the dismissal of evidence or even the dropping of charges.
Recently, the nation was shocked when a University of Virginia student was seriously injured during an arrest for a low-level, nonviolent crime. The 20-year-old man was confronted by uniformed agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control when he allegedly attempted to gain entrance to a licensed establishment. During the arrest that followed, the man became injured; photos of the incident show him lying on the pavement with blood streaming over his face. He was charged with public intoxication and obstruction of justice.
The local community rallied around the man, who is African-American. The public reception of the incident has addressed issues of police brutality and race, issues that have been in the forefront of the national consciousness since the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
It is unclear how the case will proceed for the man. Under such intense public scrutiny, it is likely that the actions of police during the arrest will be closely examined by authorities.
Police misconduct during an arrest is not always obvious, and it is not always clear to the arrested party when their rights have been infringed upon. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney after an arrest. An attorney can review the circumstances surrounding the arrest to determine whether they offer any opportunities for defense.
The law firm of Tipp & Buley provides criminal defense services to clients across Western Montana. To schedule a confidential, one-on-one consultation, contact our firm online or call 406-389-4215.
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