False Arrest Due To Police Misconduct

Have you ever felt you were wrongfully arrested, perhaps while simply going about your day, only to find yourself in handcuffs facing serious charges? False arrest due to police misconduct is a serious issue with long-lasting consequences. It’s crucial to remember that while the police are tasked with enforcing the law, they are not exempt from it. Their powers are not unlimited, and they can be held accountable if they break the law themselves.

If you have experienced police misconduct, you have options to hold both the officer and the police department responsible. Together, we will take a look at how this could potentially impact the outcome of your criminal case.

Understanding False Arrest

A false arrest, also known as a wrongful arrest, happens when the police detain someone without a good reason or without following the right procedures. It consists of restricting another person’s movement without a valid legal reason, using force or threats. Any arrest or detention is assumed to be unlawful, and the burden of proof lies with the arresting party to demonstrate its lawfulness.

But not every arrest of an innocent person is a false arrest. The law understands that police can make mistakes. A false arrest occurs when police go beyond what they’re authorized to do. Such actions include:

  • Willful detention
  • Without consent
  • Without the authority of the law

This liability can extend to those who request or direct the detention, known as “instigation. To hold a third party accountable for instigating an unlawful arrest by a police officer, it must be shown that the officer made the arrest at the request of the third party, not of their own accord. Providing inaccurate information to law enforcement is not enough for liability, but knowingly giving false information that leads to an arrest can result in liability for false imprisonment.

The classification of false imprisonment as a misdemeanor or felony depends on various factors, such as the presence of weapons, the use of force, and the duration of the confinement.

Key Elements of a False Arrest

  1. Lack of Probable Cause: Police must have reasonable grounds to believe a person has committed a crime. A false arrest claim often hinges on proving that the arresting officer lacked this essential probable cause.
  2. Absence of a Warrant: In some cases, police can arrest without a warrant. But if they do so without a good reason, it might be false arrest.
  3. Misuse of Legal Authority: If police abuse their power, it could lead to a false arrest. This includes wrong interpretations of the law or personal biases.

Qualified Immunity Explained

Government officials, including police, are often protected from lawsuits to encourage them to work without fear of legal action, known as qualified immunity. However, this immunity can be waived in certain cases for accountability. Many allow victims of police misconduct to sue officers or departments. Federal law also provides a remedy:

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, known as a Section 1983 claim, you can sue police for money or an injunction if you can prove they violated an established right and that a reasonable officer should have known their actions were wrong.

There are different actions by the police that could provide you with reasons to file a lawsuit:

Excessive Force 

It occurs when police use unnecessary or disproportionate force, even when there is little threat. Officers should use force that matches the situation and is reasonable.

False Arrest

Also called wrongful arrest, it happens when a police officer arrests someone without legal authority. If they arrest you without a good reason, they may have violated your Fourth Amendment rights.

Unlawful Detention

Sometimes called false imprisonment, it occurs when the police restrict your movement without any legal reason.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

False arrests violate our basic rights and damage our trust in law enforcement. Knowing what qualifies as a false arrest and the legal options available is crucial for ensuring fairness. Dealing with false arrests helps create a fairer and more transparent society.

If you have experienced a false arrest, you have the right to pursue justice. The Texas Criminal Defense Group can provide assistance, support, and connections to legal resources. We can assist you in seeking the justice you deserve.