Q: Filing DPA complaint against a police officer/police department/city or state vs filing an administrative tort claim

What is the statute of limitations for each? What charges i.e., criminal vs civil can be filed through each, and what is the dollar limit for each? Can I request investigation details and use garnered information as evidence for alternate or separate litigation?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, the statute of limitations for filing a complaint against a police officer or department, typically under the Department of Police Accountability (DPA), is usually within a specific timeframe from the incident's occurrence. This timeframe can vary but is often around six months to a year. It's crucial to confirm the exact deadline with the relevant department or a legal advisor.

For an administrative tort claim against a city or state entity, the statute of limitations is generally six months from the date of the incident. This is a preliminary step required before you can file a lawsuit against a government entity in California.

DPA complaints usually address civil issues related to police conduct, such as misconduct or policy violations, and do not involve criminal charges. On the other hand, administrative tort claims can lead to civil litigation for damages, where you can seek monetary compensation.

There is no dollar limit for filing a DPA complaint. In contrast, for administrative tort claims, there's no specific dollar limit on the amount you can claim, but the potential award can be influenced by various factors, including the nature of your case and any applicable caps on government liability.

You can request investigation details related to your complaint or claim, and this information can sometimes be used as evidence in separate or additional litigation. However, access to certain details might be restricted, and the admissibility of such evidence will depend on the specifics of your case and the rules of the court.

If you are considering either of these actions, it's advisable to consult with a legal professional. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation, including the nuances of the legal process and how to effectively pursue your claim. Remember, navigating legal procedures against government entities can be complex, so having knowledgeable support is crucial.

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