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What is a Wrongful Arrest?

To be wrongfully arrested is terrifying and enraging. Not only do you have to deal with the fear that comes with being at the mercy of the police (if law enforcement officers are the ones arresting), you’re being wrongfully accused, likely in public. It’s a situation where your health and character are both unjustly under attack.

Even if you are released without being charged, your reputation can take an immediate beating. The general public and people you personally know do not need facts to make judgments about you. Wrongful arrests are not as simple or cut and dry as they may seem. So if you have suffered at the hands of a wrongful arrest, you should take legal action.

Taking legal action can clear your name, punish those who made this wrongful arrest, and publicize the truth about your case for as many people to see as possible. For help, you can contact the civil rights attorneys at Bantle and Levy.

The Elements of a Wrongful Arrest

A wrongful arrest is also known as a false or unlawful arrest. Based on that, you can already understand what a wrongful arrest is. For an arrest to be wrongful, it must have certain elements. If these elements are not all met, it will be difficult to prove that you endured a wrongful arrest. These elements include:

  • You must not have committed any act that warrants wrongful arrest.
  • The person being sued (defendant) intended to and did arrest you.
  • You did not consent to be detained or confined. This does not mean you have to resist arrest when you think it is wrongful. You simply must never verbally accept your arrest or admit to guilt.
  • Your detention and/or confinement were not justified.
  • You were aware that you were being detained and confined. If you didn’t know that you were being arrested and detained, then it’s potentially proof that the arrest didn’t even happen, or that another crime wasn’t committed against you altogether.

Who Can Commit a Wrongful Arrest?

Despite what you may believe, a wrongful arrest is not only the product of police brutality. This is because law enforcement officers are not the only ones who can conduct arrests. Law enforcement officers from different local, state, and federal branches have the ability to arrest another person, but there are circumstances where non-law enforcement individuals can as well.

For example, security guards for private property or the owner of private property may also arrest you while you are on their grounds. To conduct an arrest, someone must have a reason beyond doubt to believe that you are committing or have committed a crime.

Police officers have certain protections for when they’re wrong that others do not, so keep this in mind. Also, security guards and owners of private property have to prove that you were conducting or evading a crime on their property. While someone is arresting you in defense of another’s property, this type of arrest is incredibly difficult for them to defend, and people are not recommended to attempt this except in the most dire of circumstances.

Types of Wrongful Arrest

As distressing as it may sound, there is no one way to wrongfully arrest someone. There are many different ways and many different reasons why someone would be wrongfully arrested. This has led to there being multiple different types, and some are able to cross over with each other. They include:

  • The arrest of the wrong person: When someone is wrongfully arrested as a result of mistaken identity. If someone arrests you because they think you are someone you’re not, this is a wrongful arrest.
  • Arrest without probable cause: When someone conducts an arrest, they must have a legal reason to do so. If they don’t, they do not have probable cause. You do not have to have actually committed a crime for someone to have probable cause to arrest you. They do need definitive proof or to have seen you in the act. In the case of some crimes, such as murder, they do not have to wait for you to murder someone to arrest you. Possession of a weapon, or showing intent to assault or murder someone is a crime that you can be arrested for before you commit an even worse crime.
  • Lying to obtain an arrest warrant: This type of wrongful arrest will crossover with the previous reason every time. For one reason or another, a law enforcement officer will lie to obtain an arrest warrant for you and detain you. This type of arrest can only be conducted by law enforcement who can seek arrest warrants.
  • Race-based arrest: Racial profiling is an epidemic issue in the United States and New York, among law enforcement and citizen arrests. People will target those of a specific race or ethnicity and accuse them of crimes they haven’t committed.
  • Malice-driven arrest: Arrests can be conducted as a way to punish them for something else, cover up a crime, divert attention away from an actual crime, or cover up another type of misconduct.
  • Arrest without Miranda Rights: It is legally required that everyone is read their Miranda Rights before they are interrogated or questioned by law enforcement. They do not have to be read their Miranda Rights at the time of their arrest. If someone’s rights are not repeated to them before the police try to question them, it is an unlawful arrest. You also have to be mentally sound to hear and understand your rights to declare the arrest lawful.

Contact the Civil Rights Attorneys at Bantle & Levy for Help Against a Wrongful Arrest

Using the ability to detain another person for anything other than because you have reason to believe they were committing or committed a crime, is a wrongful arrest. No one deserves to be the victim of a wrongful arrest.

If you were the victim of a wrongful arrest, you deserve freedom, to repair your reputation, and receive compensation. Not even law enforcement officers are above the law, and the civil rights attorneys at Bantle and Levy can help justice be done. Contact our attorneys today for assistance.

Bantle & Levy

Lee Bantle is a partner at Bantle & Levy LLP. He has extensive legal expertise, admitted to the bars of the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. With a distinguished academic background and clerkship experience, he has been recognized as a top-rated civil rights attorney and esteemed lawyer. In addition to his successful career, he has actively contributed to various legal organizations and serves as a faculty member for NYU's Annual Workshop on Employment Law for Federal Judges.

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