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False Arrest Questions

False arrest is the act of being held without probable cause or without an arrest warrant. While false arrest is a form of false imprisonment, an officer of the law or a person who is licensed to detain others for legal purposes are generally the ones accused of false arrest, while if a civilian detains another civilian and denies them the right of movement, that person would be guilty of false imprisonment. Below are a few of the more commonly asked questions about false arrest.

I would like to sue the city police dept. for false arrest, is that possible? What do I need to prove?

Before you attempt to sue the police department, you need to make sure that your case is over and that the case ended in your favor. If you were offered a plea bargain, and you accepted it, the false arrest would become a true arrest and there would be no law suit. However, if you didn't accept a plea agreement, there still may be a chance.

Usually, suing a government agency can be a hard process, but it is possible. The reason it is hard to sue is because government agencies and their employees are protected from law suits when operating within the normal procedures of their occupation. In order to proceed with a law suit, you will have to prove that the police department was negligent or showed misconduct while arresting you. There are four factors that you will have to prove in order to win your case.
1. The police arrested you without probable cause
2. The police had an ulterior motive other than arresting you
3. Your arrest was a result of the actions of the police
4. The case against you ended in your favor

The first two factors are usually extremely hard to prove but the last two are usually easy to prove.

The police department doesn't require much evidence to arrest a person. Usually all it takes is the police believing that you are involved in an illegal activity. In most states, you will be required to give the department notice of a pending law suit. You should speak to an attorney about the case and begin to build your arguments because the time frame for this type of suit doesn't last for long. You may also have trouble finding an attorney who is willing to take the police department to court.

If the police arrest you based only on a complaint and do not investigate, is this considered false arrest?

Generally, if someone files criminal charges, the police will investigate and take statements from any witnesses involved. If there is enough evidence that links you to the charges, the police are within their rights to make an arrest.

If there is a lack of evidence or not enough probable cause to make an arrest, but the police arrest you regardless, it may be possible that the police department would be liable for a false arrest. You need to contact an attorney and discuss your false arrest. An attorney will assist you in making the right choices.

Can false arrest be proven after you plead guilty? Can I sue the police department for false arrest?

After a false arrest, you have 10 days from the time that you plead guilty to make an appeal. Usually, if it has been longer than 10 days, you don't have an option to appeal. Because you have pled quilt, you have basically admitted that you were in the wrong and the police were justified in making the arrest. If you attempt to sue the police department after making your guilty plea, you will be expected to appear in court, before a judge and jury and explain why you think the arrest was a false arrest when you have plead guilty to the charges. What you are considering is called judicial estoppel, which means that you cannot attempt to make your claim different or better by changing your position. For example, you pled guilty but claim the police had no right to arrest you.

I was arrested 2-3 years ago for a crime I didn't commit, can I sue for false arrest?

The statute of limitations may have passed, however you have a five year statute of limitation to file for punitive damages. You should expect a fight with the police department based on the theory that they had probable cause to arrest you regardless of whether the case has been dismissed or not.

A false arrest can be damaging to a person's livelihood. There are options for the person who has been affected by a false arrest. If you are involved with a false arrest, you should contact an Expert to evaluate your legal options.

Ask a Criminal Lawyer

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 2453
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
7286322
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
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Fran L.
JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Satisfied Customers: 8061
18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Ely
Counselor at Law
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Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Satisfied Customers: 1625
Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.

Recent False Arrest Questions

  • My son wS arrested for disorderly conduct in Panama City FL March 2013. He was down there

    My son wS arrested for disorderly conduct in Panama City FL March 2013. He was down there with a Christian group from Penn State- Campus Crusade. They had only been there a couple hours, decided with 3 friends to walk to a nearby grocery and get some food. They took the food back to their rooms in 2 shopping carts (told the store manager they would return the carts) . My son was pushing one of the shopping carts, leading his friends in single file on the bike path, when , out of the blue, a police car comes toward them lights flashing. The policeman jumps out, throws my son on the hood of his car and handcuffs him. No questions asked , no talking,,and my son did not resist or say a word. His friends tried explaining to the policeman that they we're returning the carts,, they had just arrived in FL , he could talk to the Campus Crusade adult leader. THey even said my son was a nice kid. Well the cop seemed to be annoyed that the other kids were talking to him , so he threw my son in
  • Being falsly arrested, falsly accused by a 20 yr. felon. For

    Being falsly arrested, falsly accused by a 20 yr. felon. For theft.
    accuser was in for murder, got out of prison, threatened his half brother and he shot him so now he is partially blind. Now threatening many Christian Motorcycle people. Purchased a 44 revolver last week at a pawn shop with a fake ID. Clarksville police arrested me and now I have to clear my name. I have several people including a Camden Tennessee police officer waiting to testify about the deeds this guy did in their area.
    I am a licensed, ordained minister, president Christian Motorcycles past 6 yrs. Doing Prison Ministry with Billglass.org & flyrightinc.org. Deacon at local church and 50% disabled veteran. Working in Appalachian ministry collected 180 bicycles for Christmas so far. Yet I had to have jail Chaplain sign for me after I paid bail because I am a flight risk? As far as police dept. why did they have to treat me so rough? Do I have any recourse?
  • I am inquiring on behalf of my stepson, Chet xxxxxxxx, who

    I am inquiring on behalf of my stepson, Chet xxxxxxxx, who resides in a nursing home the result of a massive stroke he had while in prison. He asserts that he was falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned during his last incarceration. I submit a summary of his incident reports obtained from the Jones County Sheriff's Office in Gray, Georgia. The Incident Reports for Chet xxxxxxxx In Summary: 12/28/01 Simple battery and possession of marijuana 1/21/02 Burglary that led to intense probation. 10 yr sentence* 12/18/03 Manufacture of methamphetamine. 10 yr sentence intense probation* 9/27/05 Open container; failure to maintain lane 5/27/06 Failure to yield stop sign, DUI, possession of marijuana + 10/01/07 Probation violation: possession of marijuana 11/14/07 Marijuana drug test positive; probation lifted 03/11/08 Probation violation warrant: original charge- marijuana. Sentence: revoked in full state prison * (to be served concurrently back to back) + Origin of "cause to arrest" which led to final imprisonment It is my contention that he was arrested on 5/27/06 because of minor traffic stop but it was determined he had marijuana, a violation of his probation. His habitual violations and the seriousness of previous crimes resulted in his placement in prison on a probation violation. What is your opinion?

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