A Taser is a type of stun gun that is commonly used by police officers in order to incapacitate a person who poses a threat of harm or physical violence. They operate by overloading the person’s nerves with an electric shock. This usually causes the assailant to fall to the ground or lose their ability to control their nerve impulses.

The use of tasers by law enforcement officials is controversial and has led to many personal injury lawsuits. It is standard practice for law enforcement and police officers to carry tasers because using a taser is defined as being the alternative of shooting and killing a dangerous suspect. However, some officers have abused their power and used excessive force when using the taser gun.

When Can the Police Use a Taser?

Police are authorized to use deadly or lethal force in situations where their own lives or safety are in danger. Police mainly use taser guns as an alternative to a gun when trying to apprehend a dangerous suspect. For example, if a suspect is brandishing a weapon such as a gun or a bomb, the police are allowed to use weapons like guns or a taser in order to prevent further harm.

Moreover, since tasers are considered "less than lethal" weapons, many police department authorize their use to allow an officer to gain control over a situation.

What Constitutes Taser Abuse?

Generally, there is no set definition of what constitutes taser "abuse." If a police officer has overstep their authority when using a taser, it is likely that a court will consider various factors to determine whether a police officer has used excessive force. Some of these factors include:

  • A taser is used on a person who is only passively resisting arrest;
  • When more than one taser is used on a person;
  • When a taser is repeatedly used on a subject even after the suspect complies;
  • When a taser causes unexpected injuries such as death or permanent physical injuries;
  • When a taser is used on a person who is pregnant, elderly, or a minor.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Incidences of taser abuse are serious matters and deserve the attention of an attorney. If you have been seriously injured by the improper application of a taser, you should contact a personal injury lawyer for advice. State laws regarding tasers are new and may differ by jurisdiction. An attorney will be able to direct your course of action according to the applicable laws of your jurisdiction.