False Arrest

You have the right to not be arrested or handcuffed without "probable cause" to believe that you have committed a crime. Generally, probable cause only exists if at the time you are arrested a reasonable police officer has actual facts leading him to reasonably believe that you committed a crime. Probable cause requires more than just a suspicion that you committed a crime. An arrest occurs any time an officer puts you in a position to believe that you do not have the freedom to walk away. This usually applies at the time you are handcuffed and can apply even if you are not handcuffed. There are numerous examples of false arrest. Some examples of false arrest are as follows:

  • Being arrested because an officer plants drugs on you or says that you have drugs when you do not
  • Being arrested for something that is not a crime. For example, being arrested for assault because you told an officer: "I'll kick your ass if you come near me," is likely not assault and is a false arrest.
  • Being arrested because an officer forced or coerced you to admit to a crime you did not commit
  • Being handcuffed at a traffic stop because an officer wants to search your car when he has no reason to search your car can be a false arrest
  • Being forced to come to the police station for any situation when you are not under arrest can be a false arrest
  • Being handcuffed during an illegal or wrongful search of your house
  • Being forced to come to the police station to participate in a lineup or be a witness can be a false arrest

Being arrested because an officer has used unreasonable force on you and he is trying to justify the force used by falsely arresting and charging you with crimes such as resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and/or assault.

You also have the right not to be even briefly detained unless that officer has “reasonable suspicion” that you have been involved in criminal activity. This means that the officer must be able to point to some objective facts that show you were or were about to be involved in criminal activity. You don’t have to be handcuffed to have a case for an unreasonable detention.

What To Do If You Believe That You Were Wrongfully Arrested

Usually, when you have been wrongfully arrested, you also have been wrongfully charged with a crime. It is difficult, however, to proceed with a false arrest case while the criminal charges that relate to the false arrest are pending against you. There are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, you generally have two years from the date of the arrest to file a civil rights false arrest case in federal court. (You have one year if you make state law claims.) Second, if you take a deal on the criminal charge or charges, you likely will not be able to succeed on your false arrest case. As a result, you need to be aware of the fact that entering into any plea deal on the criminal charge(s) will likely mean that you will not be able to successfully bring a false arrest case. This means, for example, that if you enter into a plea deal in which the main criminal charges against you are dismissed, but you agree to plead guilty to some related traffic violations, the traffic violations that you plead guilty to will likely ruin a chance to have a successful false or illegal arrest case.

If you have a situation in which you feel that you have been wrongfully arrested you should call Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd. and ask for advice on the best way to proceed with the related criminal case before the criminal case is over.

There are many other situations that can also constitute a false arrest or a wrongful detention. If you feel that you have been falsely arrested contact Ed Fox & Associates, Ltd..