Can You Sue For False Arrest?

If you have been arrested, law enforcement must have followed certain rules. When you can show that they did not, you may have a specific type of personal injury case known as false arrest. You can be paid monetary compensation if you and your personal injury attorney can prove your case, so read on to find out what makes this type of arrest a lawsuit.

Arrests by Law Enforcement

Law enforcement personnel generally do a very good job when they make an arrest. To arrest a citizen, there must be reasonable cause. Arrests can occur in several different situations and the probable cause varies depending on the type:

Law enforcement observes you committing a crime – This can happen during traffic stops or anytime you are out in public. It should be noted that detaining a citizen for a short time is not the same thing as a false arrest.

A warrant for an arrest is issued – Warrants must be approved of by the judge. There are three ways to have a warrant issued:

  • The judge may issue a warrant directly from the bench—bench warrants can be issued when defendants fail to appear and for other causes.
  • Enough probable cause is gathered using an investigation by law enforcement to create an affidavit requesting a warrant.
  • An emergency warrant is issued telephonically when someone's life could be in danger.

The Elements of a False Arrest

An element is a list of qualifications that must all be true when proving that harm has been done to you. The elements that have to be proven if you suspect you have a false arrest case are:

Intent – The arrest was an intentional act by law enforcement personnel.

Awareness – Victims of a false arrest are not always cognizant of the event. For example, those who fall into a coma after an arrest cannot take action until they recover.

Against your will – Be sure this particular element is not misunderstood. You should never resist arrest because that can bring additional charges along with the potential for serious injury. This element refers to the fact that you did not consent to be arrested by stepping up to an officer and asking to be arrested for a particular reason.

Lawful – This may be the most difficult to prove element because it has to do with probable cause. Law enforcement do not have to be right about an arrest 100% of the time. If they arrest the wrong person for a crime, however, they must be prepared to prove that they had very good reasons for making the arrest.

In addition to proving the above elements, you must be ready to show that you suffered harm to your reputation, health, career, etc due to the arrest. Speak to a personal injury lawyer for more help with your false arrest situation.

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