For the most part, a false arrest is when a person is unlawfully held, arrested, or confined against his or her will, which is a crime. It is also known as wrongful arrest or false imprisonment. This crime may be committed by any person including a law enforcement officer.

Dexter knows all about this! So does James Doakes unfortunately.

According to legal pros, the victim of a false arrest has the right to file a civil lawsuit against the person that falsely arrested him/her and claim damages accordingly.

Under state and federal law a person who is falsely arrested can seek compensation for:

  • A loss of liberty
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering

As mentioned in Chapter 961 of the Florida statutes monetary compensation for wrong incarceration is calculated at a rate of $50,000 for each year of wrongful incarceration.

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What is a false arrest?

When someone deliberately and wrongfully takes away another person’s personal freedom without their permission, it is deemed as false arrest or wrongful arrest. No one really felt sorry though for Alex Jones (Paul Dano) in Prisoners when he was being beat on by Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) since Jones was a weirdo and would not answer simple questions. Not good!

Kidnapping is similar to a false arrest since kidnapping also basically involves holding a person unlawfully captive against his or her will. However, kidnapping is a separate crime by itself since the kidnapper also intends on causing harm to the person being held. Besides, legislation in several states mandate that kidnapping should also constitute the victim being moved from one location to another forcefully in addition to being held against his/her will.

On average, a false arrest claim can be worth between $2,500 and $5,000 per hour that the victim spends in custody as is seen in cases such as Landow v. Town of Amherst, 853 N.Y.S.2d 760, 761 (N.Y. App. 4th Dep’t 2008).

False arrests made by law enforcement officers

It is generally taken for granted that a police officer commits the crime of a false arrest when the officer places a person under arrest without sufficient evidence or cause to do so. However, this is not entirely true. Legal experts point out that in order for a law enforcement officer to have committed a false arrest, he or she must have acted beyond the scope of their powers and outside their authority.

To make things more clear, here is an example of what does not qualify as a false arrest.

Let’s assume John Doe was arrested by a law enforcement officer based on the verbal testimony of another individual named Jack. However, it later transpires in court Jack’s statement was false or a lie. This does not mean that the arresting officer committed a false arrest because at the time of arrest the officer had enough suspicion/reason to go ahead with the arrest.

Now here is a hypothetical situation which qualifies as a false arrest.

Let us consider a fabricated situation in which John Doe did something legal but not to a police officer’s taste (such as insult an officer – which is not illegal) and the officer reacted by arresting John Doe even though there was no other reason to do so. This typically qualifies as a false arrest where the officer is acting outside his authority and beyond the scope of his powers when he makes such an arrest.

To learn more about your rights following a false arrest make sure to seek help from a criminal defense lawyer in Florida. Click and call!