A police officer’s authority to arrest an individual is one of the most powerful of any public servant. On the one hand, this type of authority can protect the public from dangerous people or subdue an escalating situation to prevent further harm. On the other hand, the police have a responsibility to only arrest persons who have committed a crime.
When police officers fail to obey the rules that govern arrests it can result in innocent people being detained. If you suspect that you have been wrongfully arrested by a law enforcement officer because they did not follow due process during the encounter, you may have a right to legal recourse seeking justice and compensation.
What Constitutes A Wrongful Arrest
The term “wrongful arrest” refers to a situation in which a police officer arrests an individual without fulfilling all of the necessary criteria, making that arrest “wrong” or unlawful. Sometimes “wrongful arrest” is used interchangeably with terms like “unlawful detainment”. It is important to clarify that wrongful arrest refers to specific situations in which an actual arrest has taken place, not just situations in which law enforcement detained a person and prevented a said person from leaving the officer’s custody without cause or for an unreasonable amount of time. In both scenarios, you may have a valid case to file a lawsuit, but it’s necessary to understand which of the two scenarios applies to your situation.
In order for a police officer to arrest someone, they must be able to demonstrate probable cause. This means that the law enforcement officer should have a likely and provable reason for why they are arresting you – for example, because the officer states that they witnessed you commit a crime. It is not probable cause if an officer states that they witnessed you in the vicinity of a location where a recent crime took place – and this is where many wrongful arrest cases face issues.
An officer could craft a fabricated narrative that appears to demonstrate probable cause in order to justify your arrest, which is why it is vital to consult a legal professional. There have even been cases of wrongful arrest where an officer plants evidence that is then used to incriminate an individual for the purpose of an arrest. If you were arrested because of an allegation that you “look” like a wanted suspect and the only feature that you have in common with the wanted suspect is your race or ethnicity, you may have a wrongful arrest case.
What Rights Are Infringed In A Wrongful Arrest
The fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution outlines the public’s right to protection from wrongful arrest. It describes the, “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Many people take the fourth amendment to only mean that you have the right to not have your belongings seized on unreasonable grounds; however, the fourth amendment also protects against the seizure of individual persons.
If you have been arrested without an appropriate and justifiable reason, you may have been subjected to an unreasonable seizure, and the thing that has been seized is yourself. Thus, a wrongful arrest is a violation of your civil rights as granted by the Bill of Rights that amended the Constitution.
What Options You Have For Seeking Justice
If you believe that your recent arrest was wrongful, you have the right to challenge the arrest in court. An arrest can have a dramatic impact on your life, from job loss due to missed work to crippling your future prospects as a result of your damaged reputation. You can secure compensation for these losses in the legal system, but it is important to remember that the police will do their best to create believable probable cause.
This is why many people choose to work with a legal professional to establish their case and entrust their time in court to an attorney who can advocate on their behalf. Many legal experts work on a contingency basis, which means that you only owe them for legal expenses if the attorney wins your case. This makes legal counsel more accessible for those who would otherwise not be able to afford the cost of filing a lawsuit against the police for unlawful arrest. If you would like to file a lawsuit, experienced legal help is not beyond your reach.
Trust The Experts To Assist You If You Have Been Wrongfully Arrested
Whether you are considering filing a wrongful arrest lawsuit or you need legal advice but don’t know where to start, speak to the experts for help. The professional legal team at The Brown Firm would be happy to inform you of your legal options and navigate the justice process to address your unlawful arrest. Reach out today to schedule a consultation.