If you have had an encounter with law enforcement that made you feel as though you were being held against your will, you may have been subject to unlawful detainment or arrest. Your Fourth Amendment rights ensure that you are protected from being unreasonably arrested; however, in order to determine whether this has happened to you, you must first understand what constitutes unlawful arrest.
What Is Unlawful Arrest?
Unlawful arrest comprises any scenarios in which an individual is held against their will or their freedom of movement is restricted without sufficient cause. It is important to note that police officers are not the only people capable of committing unlawful arrest. Anyone, from an officer to a security guard, can illegally detain an individual.
How Does Unlawful Arrest Take Place?
Unlawful arrest occurs when an individual prevents someone from exercising their freedom to leave a location at will or deliberately puts them in custody without sufficient cause or consent. This violates the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures; in this scenario, the unreasonable seizure is of the person themselves.
Wrong Individual Is Arrested
One possible avenue of wrongful arrest is when an officer arrests the incorrect individual. This may occur when the officer mistakes a nearby bystander as the one who committed a crime or if the officer incorrectly identifies an individual being sought for criminal activity and arrests someone else instead. It may even occur if the police arrive at the wrong address to serve a warrant.
Individual Is Arrested Without Cause
One of the most critical aspects of arrests and detainment is probable cause; an officer must have reasonable information suggesting that a specific individual committed a crime in order to detain them. If you have been arrested and the officer could not provide a reason, or if the reason was simply that you seemed suspicious, you may have been unlawfully arrested without probable cause.
Miranda Rights Are Not Recited During Arrest
Any individual who is placed under arrest has the right to hear their Miranda rights. The Miranda rights explain, among other facts, that the person being arrested has the right to an attorney and that anything they say can be used against them in court. If you have been arrested and no one informed you of your Miranda rights, regardless of whether you already know what they are, your arrest may have been unlawful.
Arrest Warranted Through False Information
If you have been served an arrest warrant, that warrant must have been acquired through true information. If an officer provides false information about you or the case in order to procure a warrant for your arrest from the court, your arrest is unlawful.
Other Types Of Unlawful Arrest
While these are some of the most common types of unlawful arrest, they are not exclusive. Other types of detainment that violate an individual’s rights include arrest based solely on a person’s race, as well as an officer making an arrest for the purpose of personal gain. If an officer can be determined to have shown malicious intent during a detainment, it is unlawful.
Can I Resist An Unlawful Arrest?
Any resistance or disagreement with an arrest may not be violent or harmful to the officer, and it is wise to comply. The potential victim must clearly state that they believe that they are being unlawfully arrested. At this point, the officer must demand that the individual present evidence of the violation. If the victim does, then the officer may no longer arrest that individual. If they are unable to present evidence, they must comply with the officer but may bring evidence later with the assistance of a legal professional.
What Can I Sue For?
A wrongful arrest can have a significant effect on a person’s life. Those who have been a victim of unlawful arrest may sue for lost wages, medical bills as a result of physical harm or illness, punitive damages due to issues such as excessive force or false imprisonment, and even damage to their reputation.
Speak With An Unlawful Arrest Attorney Today
If you believe that you have been a victim of unlawful arrest, it is important that you reach out to a legal representative as soon as possible. The Brown Firm would be happy to review your case and help you to strategize about what to do next. Reach out to schedule a consultation with an expert attorney who has years of experience in unlawful arrest cases so that you can see the best outcome possible in your situation.