When does an officer have the right to pull a weapon on someone?

I am facing pending criminal charges of for the sale and delivery of 7 Schedule 2 pills. The situation was actually a set-up by an informant. Did the officer have a right to pull a gun on me? I was sitting in the car, next thing I know, my door was opened and I had a gun at my face.

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Criminal Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

While there are guidelines for the use of deadly force (e.g. self-defense; defense of others), I don't believe there are firm guidelines for exactly when an officer may, or may not, pull out his weapon. Generally speaking, if there was *any* reason to suspect that the officer might be met by armed resistance, his pulling a gun would likely be justified--and since drug sales often involve weapons and violence, it is likely that when arresting someone for a drug sale, that drawing a weapon is justified.

Even if drawing the weapon were not justified, it is not clear what that would do for you: you can't sue if you were not injured; it would not invalidate a search or cause evidence to be excluded; it would not dismiss the charges; etc.

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