A false arrest can be a difficult and stressful situation to navigate. If you have been a past victim of false arrest, you understand the annoyance and frustration that accompanies a detainment without legal cause. You may also feel helpless to confront law enforcement and fight for reparations for the damages or injuries you have faced.
If you have been or suspect that you may be a victim of false arrest, you have options both during the arrest and afterward. In these situations, the law enforcement officer has violated your rights, and you can fight to receive compensation for the damages you have suffered.
What Constitutes A False Arrest?
Though you may have some idea of what constitutes a false arrest, it may be helpful to know the legal definition. False arrest involves “restraint or detention by one person of another without lawful justification.” Probable cause, a valid arrest warrant or consent are legal reasons for an officer to arrest you. If an officer has none of these things, the arrest is not permitted. You may also hear terms such as “unlawful arrest” or “false detainment” used to describe this situation.
Your Options During An Unlawful Arrest
If a cop comes to your home and accuses you of a crime, it can be difficult to decide what to do. Will resisting arrest escalate the situation? If you resist arrest and they still detain you, what are your options going forward? The law gives you the option to resist an unlawful arrest. The officers apprehending you may explain why they are arresting you, and they may or may not give you an opportunity to explain that you are not the right suspect.
Unfortunately, officers are sometimes unwilling to consider alternative options in the face of what they believe to be overwhelming evidence. Protesting innocence may not have any effect on their decision to arrest. Remaining calm is vital, even if you are feeling stressed. Comply with the officer’s orders for your safety.
While this can feel frustrating, you have options. You can note important details like the officer’s badge number and name, injuries that you sustained in the course of the arrest, and any other adverse conditions you experience. Following your release, this information can help you make a case for reparations.
Your Options Following The Arrest
After the police release you, there are several legal options you may choose to pursue:
- Complaint: This involves reporting the officer to the police department they serve. The result of this may be that the station suspends or fires the officer. However, you are reliant on the department to take action. It is not uncommon for police departments to respond to complaints by granting the offending officer temporary paid leave from work – or taking no punitive action against the officer whatsoever.
- Evidence suppression: Following a detainment for criminal charges, officers may attempt to gather evidence that incriminates you and provides support for what they will argue is probable cause for your arrest. Any proof of criminal activity found after a false arrest can be thrown out through a motion, and you may choose to pursue this option.
- Lawsuit with injunction: Victims may sue an officer or an entire police department. If this lawsuit includes an injunction or court order, the court may require the police department to enact changes like retraining or firing officers.
- Lawsuit for monetary damages: You may also choose to sue to receive money for medical bills, lost wages, mental distress and the violation of your civil rights. If your reputation has been harmed as a result of the arrest, an attorney can help you to calculate the financial impact of this outcome and secure reparations.
This series of options allows victims to enact change in local police departments and lessen the stress of medical bills or other unexpected expenses suffered. Many people elect to work with a legal professional such as a civil rights lawyer who can help them file the appropriate paperwork, as well as argue before a court that they deserve compensation for harms rendered.
Trust A Legal Professional To Help You After A False Arrest
Whether you know someone who has been unlawfully detained or you believe that you have been a victim, you do not need to navigate the legal process on your own. The attorneys at The Brown Firm would be happy to walk you through the process and determine if you may be eligible to sue for damages. If evidence has been brought against you since the false arrest, a lawyer can help you file a motion to discard it and resolve your case. Reach out to learn more about what to do next or to schedule a consultation to speak with a legal professional.