Being arrested can be a stressful and confusing experience, and for individuals who believe that they have been illegally detained or imprisoned, that stress only continues to grow. The police as well as the public have the right to arrest people in certain circumstances. If an arrest occurs beyond the scope of proper legal avenues, then the arrest may qualify as a violation of civil rights. Your individual rights grant you freedom from unlawful seizure. Although most people assume that such seizures refer to the property alone, individual persons can also be seized under illegal circumstances. To understand whether you have been a victim of false arrest, review some common examples.
Is False Imprisonment The Same Thing as Kidnapping?
If a person has arrested you, you may wonder if what they did constitutes false arrest or kidnapping. There are important distinctions between the two terms, and they hinge around movement. Kidnapping occurs when an individual is moved from one location to another without their consent; this may be achieved through physical force or even threats. Conversely, false imprisonment involves restricting someone’s movement from a place, even when they have the right to go. The difference between the two becomes murky in situations where they intersect. For example, a police officer could illegally arrest you and then drive you to the police station. As soon as possible following an incident, speak with a legal professional to determine if your rights have been violated.
The Key Elements Of False Arrest
In order for an arrest to be considered “false” or illegal, three elements need to be present. First, the arrest must be unlawful. This sounds like a given, but the court will consider whether the person detaining you had the right to do so. Officers who witness a crime being committed or arrest someone to preserve the safety of others do have a right to arrest an individual, even if they do not consent to the arrest.
The second element that must be present is willful detention. In other words, the person doing the arrest must have intended to do so. If a semi-truck has an accident on the freeway and blocks traffic, the other drivers on the freeway are not being falsely detained because the truck driver is not willfully or intentionally preventing their movement.
Finally, the detention must occur without consent. If individuals consent to be arrested, even if they did not commit a crime, then their arrest may not qualify as a violation of their rights.
Three Examples Of False Arrest Claims
One of the simplest examples of a false arrest would be a person robbing a bank. If an individual enters a bank with a weapon and threatens the people inside the building, then those people are not able to leave due to the risk of bodily harm. This means that the robber is holding individuals against their will, which constitutes false imprisonment.
Another common example of false arrest is when a police officer detains an individual without probable cause. This can happen in instances of racial profiling, arrests made without evidence of a crime, or arrests made without evidence of the arrested person posing a risk to others.
Finally, even members of the general public can be guilty of false arrest. Utilizing the right to a citizen’s arrest, one person may detain another person and prevent them from leaving a location. Doing so without proper cause constitutes false imprisonment.
When Detention Is Not False Imprisonment
An arrest does not qualify as a false arrest just because a person may be innocent. It is possible to be both detained and innocent in a manner that is legal. In order for imprisonment to be false, you must be entirely incapable of leaving; if someone shuts the door of their home to stop you from going but you may exit out a side door, you have not been improperly detained. In cases of criminal activity, if you are later found to be innocent, your original detainment may not qualify as a false arrest. Similarly, if you consent to detainment, regardless of whether or not you are innocent, you cannot claim false imprisonment later. Individuals in positions of authority may detain you for a reasonable amount of time, such as a store clerk confirming that the items in your cart match your receipt.
Trust The Experienced Professionals To Help You Defend Your Rights
If you suspect that your recent detention was a violation of your individual rights, you may have options for legal action. The attorneys at The Brown Firm would be happy to help you seek damages and compensation for the event. Reach out to learn more about your options and schedule a consultation to discuss what to do next.