Dealing with the police can be frightening — especially if you’ve done nothing wrong. If that experience ends up in a false arrest (also called wrongful arrest), can you fight it? Yes.
Colorado is known to be one of the top states for civil rights violations, including false arrests. It’s usually an unpleasant surprise when it happens, so be on guard if it does.
What is a false arrest?
A false arrest is when anyone is unlawfully restrained and loses his or her freedom of movement. This means that when someone holds you against your will, and/or you are taken into custody without any legal justification or consent. It’s an intentional tort, meaning that the individual intended to deprive you of your freedom of movement.
This can happen not only with police officers but shop owners and managers who suspect shoplifting. If someone believes you’ve been shoplifting, they may prevent you from leaving and hold you until the police arrive.
What you have to prove
If you are the victim of a false arrest, your Fourth Amendment Rights have been violated. How do you know if they were? If you are going to court, you’ll have to prove:
- That the confinement was intentional by the defendant (the person you are suing)
- That you were conscious of the confinement (you knew you were being unlawfully detained)
- That you didn’t consent to the confinement
- Whether the arrest was “privileged,” or legally justifiable, such as a warrant for arrest. The catch-all term probable cause is harder to prove, and a defense against false arrest.
Finding an attorney who is experienced with civil rights violation cases in Denver can investigate your case, build your defense and represent you in court to defend you against a false arrest.
What to do if it happens
Even if you are being falsely arrested, resisting arrest is a second charge, and you can be charged and jailed for that. In some places, resisting a false or wrongful arrest is legal, but you can still be arrested for that.
The ACLU offers information if you find yourself falsely arrested:
- Don’t resist arrest, even a false one. You’ll risk a second charge that’s genuine
- You will be required to give your name and address to the arresting officer, but nothing else without a lawyer present
- You should always refuse a search without a warrant; should an officer state that he or she can get one, allow them to do so
- Exercise your right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions beyond your without an attorney present; just ask for one
- Get the officer’s name and badge number, write it down along with the date, time, witnesses names and contact information and other pertinent information to the case
- Keep records of all conversations, letters and anything else related to the case.
- Find an attorney skilled in civil rights violations as soon as you can, and defend yourself
Bottom line: don’t resist arrest, don’t answer any questions you’re not required to, and insist on having an attorney present when speaking to the police for any reason. Bad as the situation is, you’ll have the chance to defend yourself in court, prove the invalidity of the arrest, and clear your name.
Don’t allow injustice to continue!
False arrests can happen anywhere, and false accusations can ruin your life. If you’re the victim of a false arrest, or your civil rights have otherwise been violated, an experienced civil rights attorney will fight for your rights. While your first thought may be to call a criminal defense lawyer, remember, if you haven’t committed a crime, and your civil rights are at stake.
Call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at (720) 515-6165, or use our online contact form, to schedule your free consultation with us today. We’ll fight to help you clear your name against false arrests and other overreaching actions by police.