Excessive Force in an Arrest: How it May Affect Your Georgia DUI

Posted by Richard Lawson | May 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

Police officers have a duty to use only reasonable and necessary force when making an arrest. In some cases officers take it too far, using force in such a way that goes beyond the legal standard. Sometimes this leads to the dismissal of certain charges or even entire cases. Every arrest in unique. Whether the facts of your case may justify dismissal of the charges is a question for an experienced Georgia DUI attorney.

The Case of Desmond Marrow

On December 2, 2017 ex-NFL player Desmond Marrow was arrested outside of a Target department store. The arrest stemmed from a road rage incident after two men yelled racial slurs at Marrow. Marrow chased after the vehicle in the parking lot in order to confront the two men.

During the arrest, two officers pushed him against the bed of a truck and threw him to the ground. While on the ground, one of the officers choked Marrow, causing him to lose consciousness for around thirty seconds.

As a result, Marrow's charges of obstruction of law enforcement officers and making terroristic threats were dismissed.

89 Cases Dismissed

Last year 89 cases were dismissed by the solicitor general for Gwinnett County, Georgia. The dismissals came as a result of two officers, Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni and Officer Robert McDonald, kicking Demetrius B. Hollins in the head. The incident was captured on video camera and showed both officers' actions during the arrest.

Prosecutors stated that the police officers' conduct threw into doubt their credibility and professionalism. As a result, cases for which they were the sole or primary witness were dismissed.

When is Force Excessive?

Law enforcement officers generally have the right to use the force reasonably necessary under the circumstances to make an arrest. Excessive force is force that is excessive or unreasonable considering all of the surrounding circumstances of the arrest. While police officers receive training on the use of force and when it is acceptable, officers sometimes go too far in the course of their duties.

Excessive force can occur during a routine traffic stop, during an event, or as a result of a DUI arrest. Common examples of excessive use of force include:

  • Use of force on an individual who complies with instructions
  • Punching
  • Tackling
  • Use of a police baton
  • Choking
  • Use of a police officer's Taser
  • Excessive twisting of the arm or leg
  • Use of a firearm
  • Overly tight handcuffs or other restraints.

Each example may be permissible in certain circumstances, but the use of any in a situation in which it is unwarranted may justify dismissal of all or some of the charges in a case.

How This May Affect You

If excessive force was used in the arrest against you, and that arrest led to your DUI charges, dismissal of all or some of the charges against you may be appropriate. Each case is unique and a full understanding of the specific facts of your case is necessary so that you can protect your rights.

To receive the right legal advice for your situation, contact an experienced Georgia DUI attorney for your free consultation. Contact us today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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