Being the target of an unlawful arrest could be traumatic, humiliating, and divisive. A wrongful arrest can result in significant harm to a person’s reputation and, as a result, physical and mental damage.

But, why would a police officer make a wrongful arrest? And how can a wrongful arrest lawyer help you out?

Table of Contents (click to jump to a specific section)

What Is A Wrongful Arrest?
What Should A Fair Arrest Look Like?
Can I Resist and Arrest If I Feel That Is Wrongful?
Can A Wrongful Arrest Appear On My Records?
What Can A Victim Of Wrongful Arrest Do?
How Can I File A Lawsuit If I Have Been a Victim of Wrongful Arrest?
Kirakosian Law And Wrongful Arrest

What Is A Wrongful Arrest?

Police may only make an arrest if there’s a legal justification for it. It should only be used as a last resort, and it must be the correct course of action in such circumstances. When law enforcement officials make an arrest, they must adhere to a set of regulations. You can sue the police if they do not comply with strict provisions.

Police officers must have reasonable cause to believe that they were involved in a crime, are engaged in the process of committing a crime, or are preparing to commit a crime before an arrest may be made. You can be arrested anywhere, including at your home, place of business, or on the street.

When a person is arrested and convicted by police without valid legal authority, he or she is considered to have been detained unlawfully. Wrongful arrests are most common when a retail worker or company owner holds a customer against their will because they believe the person has committed a crime in their shop, such as stealing.

The retailer calls the cops, and the police arrest the suspect without any evidence other than the retail proprietor’s or employee’s word. You might have a viable claim if you or someone you know was unjustly arrested.

Wrongful arrest is defined as:

  • Arrest of the wrong person
  • Arrest made without probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.
  • Arrest without the mention of the suspect’s Miranda Rights
  • Arrest without just cause
  • Arrest with an arrest warrant that was obtained with false information given to the court by a police officer
  • Arrest by incompetence
  • Arrest for personal gain
  • Arrest based on race
  • Arrest based on pure malice

The majority of individuals who are the subject of an unlawful arrest file a lawsuit against the arresting officer, the police department, and the municipality for damages including mental anguish and humiliation. The majority of these circumstances become apparent only after the arrest is made and when litigation ensues.

What Should A Fair Arrest Look Like?

If you are detained by the police, they must:

  • Inform you they are the police
  • Explain that you are being arrested.
  • Tell you what crime you’re being charged with.
  • Explain why you must be arrested.
  • Explain that you are being detained and cannot depart.

If you try to flee or become violent, police may only use “reasonable force” during an arrest. Reasonable force might be defined as pinning you down, using approved holds, or in some cases using a baton or taser. The police’s equipment, ranging from batons to tear gas to taser guns to firearms, will all be considered when a determination is made about whether the force was reasonable and lawful.

If the police break any of these laws, your arrest might be declared illegal and you may be eligible for compensation. Even if you are not charged with a crime as a result of an unlawful arrest, you may still seek compensation.

Can I Resist and Arrest If I Feel That Is Wrongful?

Any person who is detained by a police officer and believes it to be unjust may fight the arrest. The individual being illegally detained can inform the officer of his or her situation. After making the assertion, the officer must demand that the individual show evidence disproving his or her arrest.

If the evidence proves that the arrest was wrong, the officer may no longer lawfully arrest the individual. If no evidence is found, the detainee must comply with police officers before he or she may be detained. The resistance to arrest cannot be violent or dangerous to the police officer in any way.

When an arrest is made, there will be no evidence to present and the claim may be filed again in the presence of a lawyer. Because of the concern that the suspect might flee, not all courts will allow the claimant to demonstrate their case.

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Can I Resist and Arrest If I Feel That Is Wrongful?

Any person who is detained by a police officer and believes it to be unjust may fight the arrest. The individual being illegally detained can inform the officer of his or her situation. After making the assertion, the officer must demand that the individual show evidence disproving his or her arrest.

If the evidence proves that the arrest was wrong, the officer may no longer lawfully arrest the individual. If no evidence is found, the detainee must comply with police officers before he or she may be detained. The resistance to arrest cannot be violent or dangerous to the police officer in any way.

When an arrest is made, there will be no evidence to present and the claim may be filed again in the presence of a lawyer. Because of the concern that the suspect might flee, not all courts will allow the claimant to demonstrate their case.

Can A Wrongful Arrest Appear On My Records?

It won’t be added to your criminal record if you are arrested but not charged or if the charges against you are later dismissed. Although you may not have a criminal record, your past arrest might be disclosed by the police. This information will not be shown on a basic DBS check, but it may be revealed on an enhanced check.

Even if you don’t have a criminal record, police may disclose arrested and not charged details for some background checks. It’s also critical to understand whether the arrest was legal, since any mistakes may have long-term consequences and make it harder for you to obtain certain employment in the future.

A wrongful arrest can be extremely harmful to a person, and it may have a long-term influence on their life. Have you ever heard the phrase “there’s no smoke without fire”?

In many cases, people believe that if someone has been arrested, it is because there was a reason. Even if you are not convicted and the accusations are withdrawn, the harm may already have been done, especially if you were detained in a public place such as at work.

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What Can A Victim Of Wrongful Arrest Do?

If you or someone you know has been arrested as a result of mistaken identity, here are the four legal strategies available to them:

  1. You may file a complaint with the police department against the arresting officer.
  2. You may file a motion to suppress whatever evidence was obtained from the false arrest.
  3. Another option is to file a lawsuit against the officer and department, demanding an injunction.
  4. Your last alternative is to file a lawsuit against the officer and department for monetary compensation.

A complaint with the police department can result in a victim’s demand that an officer is held liable for his or her unlawful detention. In some of the most serious situations, the officer could be dismissed. He or she may also be suspended or retrained as a result of this action. An officer in California might be charged with a felony or other laws under Penal Code 118.1 PC or similar legislation.

If the individual was charged with a crime as a result of the false arrest, he or she can file a motion to exclude evidence obtained from the unlawful seizure. The court will most likely order a stay until the conclusion of the criminal case, which is standard practice. Any criminal evidence discovered as a result of the arrest can be dismissed.

How Can I File A Lawsuit If I Have Been a Victim of Wrongful Arrest?

The plaintiff (victim) in a California false arrest claim or lawsuit must show the following elements to win:

  • The defendant (cop) arrested the plaintiff without a warrant or one that was invalid
  • The plaintiff was truly injured.
  • The defendant’s conduct was a significant aggravating factor in the plaintiff’s damages.

When a plaintiff claims that the defendant arrested him or her without legal basis, the burden is on the defendant to show that the arrest was proper. The majority of criminal defense claims revolve around probable cause for an arrest or a genuine belief in the legality of the arrest warrant.

Defendants may argue that qualified immunity protects them from false arrest lawsuits, which the law is unclear on whether it applies to. However, even if plaintiffs can establish that defendants violated a clear constitutional right, qualified immunity does not apply – and the defendants may be sued.

In California, individuals who have been a victim of a wrongful arrest can sue for money damages to cover medical expenses, missed wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any other out-of-pocket expenditures.In most circumstances, their police department covers any civil damages.

Kirakosian Law And Wrongful Arrest

At Kirakosian Law we put your rights first! We handle civil rights cases, including:

  • Police misconduct
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Wrongful arrest

If you or someone you know has suffered emotional distress or injury due to a civil rights violation, contact our attorney at Kirakosian Law APC for a free consultation.