Most cases of false arrest involve shoplifting accusations and are typically made by security guards and store owners or managers. A false arrest is an arrest made without a warrant or probably cause and is a form of imprisonment and considered a direct violation of your 4th Amendment rights.
False Arrest and False Imprisonment
When accused of shoplifting for example, a security guard or other employee at the store may restrain you from leaving. False imprisonment amounts to restraining or restricting your ability to leave either through physical force, gestures or conduct. If you are restricted from leaving due to fear of what may happen if you try to exit the store you are being falsely imprisoned.
False Arrest and the 4th Amendment
Under federal law, a false arrest is a direct violation of your rights under the 4th Amendment. The 4th Amendment states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The 4th Amendment exists to protect citizens from false arrest.
False Arrest by Security Guard versus Police
While most cases of false arrest center around shoplifting, a security guard cannot arrest someone because of a suspicion that a person will commit a crime – there needs to be proof a crime was actually committed. When a police officer is involved there are three requirements related to false arrests and violation of the 4th Amendment:
- The officer used force or their authority to restrain the person
- The person must believe they are not free to leave (use of handcuffs, locked in a room for example)
- The officer intentionally restricted freedom of movement without probable cause (no legitimate reason to make the arrest)
What to do When Subjected to a False Arrest
If you have been accused of a crime, keep these in mind:
- Do not say or admit to anything. Do not proclaim your innocence. Do not explain anything. Inconsistent statements can be used to discredit you.
- Do not talk to anyone about “your side of the story” as your statements are not privileged, and those that you talk to can be subpoenaed later on.
- You do not have to be read your Miranda rights until you are in custody – what you say before then can be used against you
- Call an attorney. An attorney will deal with threats, protect you from incriminating yourself, determine if charges have been filed, determine what type of charge has been filed, negotiate with the prosecutors working to have charges dropped or reduced, as well as represent you if you start a claim for defamation for the false arrest and detainment.
False Arrest Attorney Critical
Even if only detained for a few hours, a false arrest wrongly takes away your freedom, and can cause serious long-lasting problems in your everyday life, including employment, family responsibilities, school, and other activities. Call Joel Baskin for experienced legal action and to protect your rights as soon as you have been accused or arrested.