If a police officer or a private citizen like a security guard detains you or restricts your freedom without any reason, it’s important to know your rights and what course of action you can take next. Most people are not well aware of their civil rights and this deters them from making the right decision. Knowing your rights is just as important as seeking professional legal advice. For instance, if you live in Fort Lee, contacting an expert attorney in Fort Lee NJ before making any statement to the police officer will be your best bet during a wrongful arrest.
In order to know what to do after suffering from a wrongful arrest, it’s essential to first know what qualifies as an unlawful or wrongful arrest.
What is Wrongful Arrest?
A wrongful arrest means when an individual is deprived of their freedom by a police officer or private citizen without having any probable cause or an arrest warrant.
For example, if you were simply leaving the shopping mall and without any evidence or valid cause, the security guard detained you. This will count as a wrongful arrest.
The person can be arrested without a warrant, if the police officers can prove that they had valid cause to do so, as the victim committed a crime in front of them, or they were suspected of the crime.
However, there are situations where the police officer has an arrest warrant, yet it would be deemed as a false arrest.
False Arrest Regardless of the Warrant
Even if a police officer shows a “warrant” to arrest you, you should be able to identify whether it is valid or invalid. A warrant can be invalid due to the following reasons:
- It doesn’t state the name of an individual to be arrested
- It doesn’t mention the crime for which the person is being detained
- There’s no mention of the court name that issued the warrant
Nevertheless, the police officer can claim that they thought the warrant was valid because it looked valid to them, or they thought it was for the same person who was detained.
What to Do After a False Arrest?
Getting arrested for a crime that you didn’t commit at all can hurt your reputation and can also be the cause of lost wages or any physical injury (if force was involved). You should know that you can take any four of the following legal actions:
File a complaint against the police officer. You can file your complaint in the police department and the arresting officer can either be suspended, restrained or they may even have to bear criminal charges.
File a motion to suppress the evidence. If you file a motion to suppress the evidence that the legal authorities had collected for your wrongful arrest, it will not be used in determining your innocence or guilt, hence it may result in the criminal charges being withdrawn.
Demand an injunction. Filing an injunction against the police officer because of the violation of your civil rights can lead to suspension, dismissal, or retraining of the officer.
Ask for monetary damages. You can file a lawsuit for monetary compensation caused by the wrongful arrest in the form of lost wages, mental suffering, and medical expenses.