What Can You Do if You Think You’re the Victim of an Unlawful Arrest

New York City paid nearly $600,000 to settle a false arrest lawsuit. The Occupy Wall Street protestors were arrested while on the sidewalk on New Years Day 2012. The complaint stated that the protestors had been ordered to disperse but were not allowed to do so and were then arrested.

If you think you have been unlawfully arrested you may be entitled to compensation. What can you do if you think you’re the victim of an unlawful arrest?

Read on to learn about the unlawful arrest and your legal protection.

What Is an Unlawful Arrest?

Wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, false arrest or unlawful arrest have similar meanings. They have subtle differences when it comes to the precise definition. For practical purposes, if someone wrongfully holds you without your consent or takes you into custody you may be the victim of an unlawful arrest.

For police to commit an unlawful arrest they must be acting beyond their authority. For example, if the police are acting on the basis of a sworn statement by another person they may lawfully arrest you. Even if the statement is false or a lie, the police action is lawful.

The police have the power to arrest you if they reasonably suspect you of having committed a crime. It may be the case that if the arrest is because of a false statement by a third party that you could sue the third party.

If a police officer exceeds his authority and arrests you simply out of vindictiveness then this is an unlawful arrest. Because the police officer is acting illegally it is possible that the police officer could be guilty of the crime of false arrest.

Can You Resist Arrest?

If you believe that you are being wrongfully arrested by a police officer you can tell the officer that you are being wrongfully arrested. The police officer must ask to be made aware of the evidence that it is a wrongful arrest. Examples of evidence could be that you are not the right person, that you have not had your Miranda Rights read to you or that the arrest is without just cause.

If you cannot present evidence of a wrongful arrest, even if you are innocent, you must cooperate fully with the police officer. Resisting arrest is a crime in its own right even if the arresting officer is acting on false information. Generally, it is unwise to resist arrest even if you are certain you are innocent.

If the person detaining you is not a police officer they may not do so without a lawful reason. If they saw you take merchandise, hide it and make no attempt to pay for it they may have a reasonable cause to hold you until the police arrive.

A court may decide that an arrest was illegal. It’s usually best to leave the fight to the courtroom. A false arrest lawsuit might be your next step.

What Can You Do About It Now?

If you believe you have been the victim of an unlawful arrest or have been detained without a proper basis you can contact a criminal defense attorney.

They will help you understand the state as well as any federal law that applies to your situation. If there is a case for suing for false arrest against the police or another party they will advise you about how to do this.

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