Philadelphia Police Misconduct Lawyers: What Limitations Do Police Have On The Use Of Mace?

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Mace, similarly to tear gas, has been classified as an irritant. It is also worth noting that this is a brand name that is commonly associated with products of the same kind as the pepper spray. The use of mace as an irritant by the police officers and other law enforcement officers are allowed to use mace in the arrest of suspected individuals on suspicion of crime, such use has been limited in some clearly defined situation. There are a number of situations that the law limits the usage of mace. The law also provides on when and where it can be used.


The most profound and perhaps the leading guideline is that the use of mace has to be made reasonably. What this means is that the officer using this will be required to make an analysis based on the circumstances leading to the use of mace. Such reasonability is to be made after close consideration of all the details and this includes the crime that has been committed, the age and gender of the individual and the threat that is posed in terms of flight on the one hand and retaliation on the other hand. The law makes it a crime for police officers to use mace for malicious purposes.

Mace cannot be used on board any aircraft that is of commercial nature. This is because such usage may have an effect on the other passenger as well as interfere with the pressurized cabin and thus put the safety of the plane at risk.

There are certain jurisdictions in which the use of mace has been expressly prohibited under all circumstances. This makes it illegal for the police officers to use it. Another limitation that police have with regard to such usage is that mace does not have any effect on individuals under the influence of intoxicating substances such as alcohol and drugs. It will therefore be considered a malicious act if the officer uses mace since the capacity of the individual is already diminished.

Express Limitation

There is an express limitation against the use of mace on suspects that are unarmed and have voluntarily surrendered. There are other legal specifications that have made with a limitation against the use of mace on minors, persons with disabilities and the elderly citizens. However, this consideration is based on the circumstances on the usage. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of police misconduct, call us at 215-735-3326, toll free at 800-555-7780 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.