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False Arrest

Under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, people are protected from unreasonable seizure by the police. This can include a seizure of your person, which is also known as false arrest. False arrest is a form of false imprisonment that is being done by someone who claims to have the authority to make an arrest. When you are unreasonably held by law enforcement under the authority of the law, it can be considered a false arrest and a violation of your civil rights. Such police misconduct should never be tolerated, and you should seek recovery by speaking with an experienced police misconduct lawyer about your false arrest claim.

Police must have probable cause that the person they are arresting committed a crime in order to make a legal arrest. This means that the officer must have facts sufficient to cause a reasonable person to believe that the person being arrested committed a crime, or the police officer must possess a valid arrest warrant or court order to make a legal arrest.


What Is Required for A False Arrest Claim?

Generally speaking, a false arrest claim exists when a victim can show that:

  • A police officer used force or their authority in order to restrain the victim against his or her will;
  • The victim reasonably believes that he or she is not free to leave, i.e., that the victim has no choice and cannot leave without facing retaliation; and
  • The police officer intentionally restricts the freedom of the victim without probable cause to do so, i.e., the officer must have a legitimate reason to make the arrest.