Police officers and other public officials may hold citizens when an individual has broken the law. Officers can abuse that power by making false arrests or imprisonments. In those cases, the official is acting without the legal justification necessary to perform an arrest or detainment. Because of this, the detainment may be considered false, and the victim may be entitled to legal compensation in the form of damages that are calculated based on several factors including but not limited to lost wages, loss of employment, medical expenses, and personal injury.
How False Arrest And Imprisonment Fit Into The Law
False arrest and false imprisonment both fall under tort law. A tort is an act or omission that causes harm or injury to another. The primary purpose of this type of law is to help people who have become victims of harm. Lawyers who practice tort law focus on helping you receive the aid you deserve after enduring illegal harm.
Typically, help comes as financial compensation following a court case. Both false arrest and false imprisonment are intentional torts, meaning that the act of confinement was purposeful, not accidental.
What Is A False Arrest?
You may hear individuals use the terms false arrest and false imprisonment to refer to the same circumstances, but these words actually have different meanings. A false arrest constitutes detainment by someone claiming to have the legal right to do so. Police officers and certain other officials have that right. Sometimes, however, if they act without just cause or a warrant, the arrest is illegal or false.
One situation in which a false arrest might occur is if, for example, a police officer comes to your house claiming to have a warrant to bring you into custody. If the police officer does not actually have a warrant, the period of holding at a police station is illegal.
What Is False Imprisonment?
False imprisonment is a broader term. In order for an act to qualify under this category, one must be held against their will. The captor does not need to claim any legal right to hold that person captive. The term “false imprisonment” can refer to many different scenarios, but the concept overall describes any incident in which a person wants to leave but cannot leave. This may be due to physical entrapment, like being locked in a room, or it may refer to situations where someone is threatened with harm if they try to flee. Often, false arrest cases constitute false imprisonment as well, though not always.
What To Do If You Have Been Falsely Arrested Or Imprisoned
Instances of false arrest or imprisonment are often frightening, and it can be difficult to navigate the situation with care. It is important to remember to stay calm, though it may feel difficult or impossible to do at the moment. If you remain calm, this allows you to better observe the circumstances of the situation. Pay attention to the individual or officer detaining you. Try to remember badge and car numbers in the case of unlawful arrest, and make a mental note of other critical information, such as bystanders who could later serve as witnesses or street signs that indicate the exact location where you were stopped.
Always remember your rights. When falsely arrested, using your right to remain silent and your right to a lawyer may help you avoid further harm. Following release from capture, document any injuries you have suffered by taking photos and, where necessary, seeking medical attention. In a later trial, this documentation might be the factor that determines if you will receive the compensation that you are owed for your personal injury and medical expenses.
Every situation is unique, especially in cases of false imprisonment. Making note of key details permits you to act later. An attorney may sort through this information and assist you in the pursuit of financial repayment for harm you have suffered. Unfortunately, cases of false arrest and imprisonment can be difficult to prove, because the victim must often prove that the detainment was objectively unreasonable. This is why most individuals elect to work with an attorney instead of representing themselves in court.
Trust The Professionals To Help You Fight For Your Rights
If you or someone you know has been falsely arrested or detained, you may be entitled to take legal action. The attorneys at The Brown Firm would be happy to help you understand the potential strategies and possibilities for your case, as well as how to proceed and what you can expect during the legal process. Reach out to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers or to ask any questions you may have about your rights under the law