False arrest is not the same as innocence. In order to prove that you’ve been falsely arrested, certain legal criteria have to be met. You have to be unlawfully restrained (arrested) against your will and the arrest was unreasonable given the circumstances. Since the courts normally give the benefit of the doubt to law enforcement, these cases can be difficult to prove.
In a previous post on the subject, I wrote “False arrest cases are covered under state and federal statutes, most notably the US Constitution’s 4th Amendment which guards protects the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.
In order to stop a person for questioning or investigation, police must have “reasonable suspicion” that the person has or is committing a crime. “Although the `reasonable suspicion’ standard is less demanding than probable cause, it must be more than an `inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or hunch,” the court explained, quoting the Eleventh Circuit’s 1999 decision in United States v. Simmons.
If an arrest is made, the police must have probable cause which is understood as”information sufficient to support a reasonable belief that an offense has been committed by the person to be arrested.” Probable cause does not mean proof beyond a reasonable doubt or proof by a preponderance of the evidence. It does not mean the person is guilty. It simply means that the police officer had a “reasonable belief” that the person committed a crime.
False arrest cases hinge on this notion of probable cause. In some cases, racial profiling can play a significant role in terms of probable cause and the reasonableness of the arrest. False arrest cases are particular and each case must be evaluated on their merits which are evaluated by the particular circumstances.
If you or a loved one believe an arrest meets the criteria I’ve outlined, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Give me a call today.