The police can also be held accountable for causing unlawful detentions without an arrest and for prolonging a detention longer than the law allows.
As a general rule, false imprisonment means depriving another person of freedom of movement without lawful authority. A false imprisonment can be committed by anyone, including a spouse or a security guard. When an individual wants to bring a civil action against a police officer for false imprisonment, the key question is whether the officer exceeded his or her lawful authority in causing the loss of freedom.
The police have lawful authority to make an arrest under a variety of circumstances. The clearest example of lawful authority occurs when the police make an arrest pursuant to a warrant. However, when the police make a mistake and arrest someone who is not named in the warrant (usually someone with a similar name), they may be liable for false imprisonment.
The police can also make an arrest without a warrant, but only if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the arrested person committed, or is in the process of committing, a crime. The police must also determine that an arrest is necessary, meaning that it meets criteria specified by state law. For example, if an offence is minor, if the police can identify the person who committed it, if that person is cooperative with the police, and if there is no reason to believe that the person will not appear in court, it may be unlawful to arrest that person.
Every arrest is regarded as a restraint of freedom, even if the police decided to release an arrested suspect minutes later. Of course, a wrongful arrest that results in a long detention is typically more harmful than one that results in a brief detention. Compensation is usually proportionate to the harm caused. Any person who was wrongfully arrested should seek legal advice to determine whether compensation is worth pursuing.
When an arrest is unreasonable, the arrested person may be entitled to compensation, even if the person is guilty of the offence. It pays to receive legal advice whenever an arrest is made that might not have been reasonable under the circumstances.
An unlawful detention is similar to a wrongful arrest. Even when the police do not arrest an individual, they sometimes restrain that person’s freedom of movement. An order like “Stay there and don’t move” can be a wrongful detention if the police had no authority to give the order.
A person who is subject to an unlawful detention can pursue compensation. Like a wrongful arrest, the longer the detention, the greater the compensation is likely to be.
An individual who has been sentenced for a crime may be lawfully imprisoned for the duration of the sentence. In some cases, people are held in custody after the sentence expires. In those cases, the imprisoned person may be entitled to compensation for wrongful imprisonment.
An individual who is taken into custody and held behind bars without being arrested may also be entitled to compensation for wrongful imprisonment. In addition, when someone is detained while being prosecuted and the prosecution is conducted for illegitimate reasons (for instance, as retribution because the person had an affair with a public official’s spouse), it may be possible to bring a civil action for malicious prosecution.
The police can commit an unlawful imprisonment, even after a lawful arrest, if they do not respect the individual’s right to receive a prompt determination of bail. The police are not always required to grant bail, but they are always required to make it possible for an arrested individual to apply for bail from a magistrate. When they fail to discharge that duty, they may be liable in a civil action.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.