What Happens If I am Falsely Arrested for a Crime?

6 Things You Can Do if You're Wrongfully Accused of a Crime? | LHA

When an individual is arrested, they are taken into custody. A lawful arrest requires probable cause. Individuals are typically arrested in connection with a criminal investigation and are released later. The arrest is permitted and lawful if the police had probable cause to arrest you. Remember, while law enforcement officers don’t have absolute power to arrest individuals, a presumption exists that they are authorized to arrest individuals if they have probable cause. 

Probable cause essentially provides law enforcement officers the authority to make an arrest, search, or seizure because they reasonably believe that a crime has transpired and the individual they detained or arrested was the one who committed the crime. This can be established by observations of the arresting officer and other evidence. 

This means that probable cause does not require absolute cause or proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The police only need to have information and facts that would lead them to reasonably conclude that the arrested individual committed a crime. 

On the other hand, a false arrest or imprisonment occurs when an individual is taken into custody or held against their will without their consent or any legal justification. If you have been falsely arrested for a crime, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for damages.

Who Can I Sue for False Arrest?

You can sue law enforcement officers, agencies, and the municipality if you have been falsely arrested for a crime. However, you would need to establish how their misconduct led to you being deprived of the constitutional right to freedom absent just cause. In most cases, false arrest claims involve associated claims of discrimination, harassment, or use of excessive force. 

You may also need to exhaust all administrative options first before you take your claim to court. Additionally, claims against the police, law enforcement agencies, and the city may be significantly limited by immunity rules. 

In other cases, falsely arrested individuals can likewise sue private individuals and entities for false arrest. For example, security guards may or may not have the authority to arrest you if you’re caught shoplifting. But if they had probable cause to detain you and reasonably believe that they can get back the property your stole by arresting you, then they may lawfully arrest you. 

Furthermore, citizen’s arrests may be permitted in cases where a citizen witnessed a crime taking place, and an arrest was necessary to prevent the offender from escaping the police or prevent others from getting hurt. But citizen’s arrests are normally limited to cases in which the crime is a felony. The arresting citizen is also allowed to utilize reasonable force when arresting the offender.  

Seek Legal Guidance From a Seasoned Ventura Criminal Lawyer Today

If you were falsely arrested for a crime, contact the law office of Bamieh& De Smeth today. Our seasoned Ventura criminal lawyer can assess the details surrounding your arrest and help you understand your options moving forward. Schedule your free consultation by filling out our online form or calling 805-643-5555.