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What to do if you are falsely arrested

by | May 21, 2024 | Criminal Law |

A false arrest, also called a wrongful arrest, happens when you’re taken into custody by law enforcement without legal justification. This can be due to mistaken identity, lack of probable cause, or even police misconduct.

Here’s what constitutes a false arrest:

  • No probable cause: Police need a reason to believe you committed a crime to arrest you. This reason cannot be based on hunch or prejudice but on facts and evidence.
  • Improper procedure: Even if there’s probable cause, the arrest itself must follow proper legal procedures.

What to do if you’re falsely arrested:

  • Stay calm: Don’t resist arrest. It can escalate the situation and make you look guilty.
  • Don’t argue: Politely assert that you’re being arrested wrongly, but don’t get into a debate with the officer.
  • Ask for a lawyer: This is your most important right. Don’t answer any questions until you have legal counsel present.
  • Gather evidence: If possible, try to remember details of the arrest, like the officer’s name and any witnesses.
  • Contact an attorney: Talk to a lawyer specializing in wrongful arrest. They can advise you on your legal options, which may include filing a lawsuit against the arresting officer or department.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind:

  • Miranda Rights:  The police do not have to read you Miranda Rights unless they initiate questioning after you are in custody.  Anyone who has been taken into custody and interrogated by the police must first be read their Miranda rights. The reading of your Miranda rights is known as a ‘Miranda warning’ because the police are “warning” you of your constitutional “Right to remain silent” because anything you say can be used against you in court.
  • Limit your Words:  In the vast majority of convictions, the suspect’s own words were used against them to get the conviction.  Limit your response to, “I have a lawyer”.
  • Document everything: Once you’re released, write down everything you remember about the arrest.
  • Know your rights: The police are legally allowed to lie to you. Understanding your rights as an arrested person can empower you in such situations.
  • Be respectful: Even in a stressful situation, politeness can go a long way.

Remember, this is just general information. If you believe you’ve been falsely arrested, consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best course of action.  NachtLaw attorneys will fight for your rights and challenge illegal police practices. When the police go too far, we fight back. When false accusations result in a criminal charge, we ask the tough questions and bring out the truth.