Groups » How to Fight Against False Imprisonment

Approximately 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted in the U.S every year, according to a new study. Moreover, according to a new report by National Registry of Exonerations released by the University of Michigan Law School, 149 people were exonerated after being declared innocent or cleared of the consequences of their convictions in 2015. Many of these people have already served lengthy prison time (about 15 years) for crimes that they didn’t even commit.

Owing to the statistics mentioned above, it is quite possible that anyone might be convicted for a crime that they might have never thought about committing. It is always best to keep yourself prepared, so that you can act immediately if you are ever wrongfully convicted.

What is False Imprisonment?

False imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of a person against his/her will by the police or a person, without adequate legal authority. False imprisonment can either be a crime or a civil cause of action, known as tort. False arrest is also a type of false imprisonment, where an individual is being held captive mistakenly. According to B. Clarke Nash, a Savannah personal injury lawyer, “false imprisonment is an offense to one’s dignity, and the injuries are emotionally profound".

Consider the case of Rafael Suarez, who was convicted for a vicious felony in Tucson in 1997. After much harassment, Suarez was convicted and sentenced five years of jail time. No witnesses were called to testify at the trial, and Suarez was convicted for a crime that he had never committed. As a result, he had lost his family, job, and lost parental rights on his children. Finally, he was released in 2000. Read the full case and more here.

If you want to avoid the hassles and harassments of false imprisonment, it is necessary that you keep in touch with a personal injury lawyer, who can help you file a case and get a compensation for the damages made (whether physical, psychological, or any damage to your property).

How to File a False Imprisonment Case?

The police officers have one of the toughest jobs, which involve maintaining law and order. In order to make sure no one violates the law and order in a state or county, the police have some legal rights to take away the personal liberty of an individual under certain circumstances. But oftentimes, this power is abused, and innocent people are being detained illegally.

Ideally, you will be considered a victim of false arrest if you are being arrested by someone claiming to have the authority to detain you without a probable cause. If you have been arrested for a crime that you have never committed, you most likely have a false arrest case.

Here are some factors that you must consider when filing a false arrest case:

Absence of Probable Cause

Police officers or administrative authorities cannot arrest or detain an individual for any reason. They must have a warrant issued by the court or a probable cause to believe that he/she committed a crime. However, police or administrative authorities oftentimes rely on anonymous tips and carry out the arrests. If you have been a victim of false arrest, make sure you can prove that the person who arrested you had no ‘probable cause’ for the arrest. Ideally, this would be done best by an attorney who is experienced in defending false arrest cases. Get in touch with your attorney as soon as possible after a false arrest.

Administrative Complaints

Before filing a lawsuit, you must check whether there are specific steps to be taken, since the process varies considerably among cities and states. You need to follow the steps to make sure that the administrators get all the details and are in a position to investigate the claim and decide the settlement. If the administrators fail to proceed or the complaint is denied, you are free to go ahead and file a private lawsuit.

Filing a Lawsuit

In order to file a false arrest lawsuit, you are required to provide a written complaint which must include the references of specific laws that were violated, and other details regarding the false arrest. Remember, you have a false arrest case, if your Fourth Amendment right is violated and you will be eligible to collect damages for the violation under Title 42 section 1983 of the U.S. Code. You are also required to produce evidence and testimony from witnesses to prove that you were falsely arrested.

This can be very complicated, so you must consult an attorney to help gather the evidence and witnesses. Moreover, you need to file the lawsuit within a specific time period (statute of limitations apply for false arrests in your state).

The police and administrative authorities are human beings, and it is quite possible for them to make mistakes; nevertheless, it is very difficult to file and win a false arrest case. Only a seasoned false arrest attorney will be able to help you file a strong false arrest case and win a settlement.

Remember, you must follow all the rules and regulations when filing a false arrest lawsuit, so it is in your best interest that you hire an experienced attorney now.

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