The U.S. Constitution guarantees every American the right to freedom from unlawful search and seizure. That means a law enforcement officer can’t arrest you based on a whim, a personal agenda, a hunch, an unsupported suspicion, or “evidence” that the police planted. Arrest without a valid probable cause in California is called “false arrest” or “unlawful arrest.”
Your Constitutional Rights
You have a Fourth Amendment constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The purpose of this provision of the Bill of Rights is to protect you from being arrested on the unreasonable or malicious whim of a law enforcement officer. As a matter of federal law, based on the Bill of Rights, police officers must have probable cause to arrest you. If they arrest you without probable cause-on just a hunch, or worse, on fabricated or planted evidence-you might be able to bring a federal Section 1983 lawsuit for violation of your civil rights, along with a state tort action of false imprisonment by false arrest, the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another person.
It is important to understand, however, that probable cause does not mean absolute certainty of your guilt, but that there exists a fair probability based on the available evidence. Ultimately, your guilt or innocence will be determined at trial, unless you confess or enter into a plea bargain.
It is not unusual for police officers to overstep their boundaries and arrest someone without probable cause. Unfortunately, this continues to happen because some victims of this practice are not aware of their rights and are intimidated by police. Members of racial minorities are disproportionately impacted by law enforcement abuse of power. If a police officer obtained an arrest warrant based on fabricated evidenced or arrested you without a warrant or factual information to justify it, you need to fight back, sue to recover your damages, and hold police accountable with the help of a California civil rights lawyer.
Damages That Result from False Arrest
If you were accosted by police, handcuffed, thrown into a cruiser, and booked as a criminal when you did nothing wrong, you were probably terrified and humiliated. This is even more true if the arresting officers used excessive force or outright brutality and injured you in the arrest process. If you were thrown in jail with dangerous criminals, you could have been further brutalized.
Furthermore, your reputation may have been damaged beyond repair if the arrest took place in front of neighbors or coworkers, and especially if it was reported in the press. Even if you cleared your name in the legal system, people often wrongly assume that the police would not have arrested you without a good reason. Finally, you may find your mug shot on a website for all to see, where it stays until you pay the domain owner a fee to take it down. This is often an exercise in futility, because it will only pop up again on another site.
When you were being held in jail, you probably had to miss work, resulting in loss of earnings. You might have lost your job as a result, raising the damage toll even further.
You may have also suffered psychological damage when the very people you relied on to protect you capriciously turned against you, destroying any sense of security you once enjoyed before the arrest.
Justice and the United States Constitution
At the Singleton Law Firm, our practice is deeply rooted in our passion for justice and our heartfelt belief in the United States Constitution. We are proud to do our part to defend the Constitution on a case-by-case basis. Every time we win an award for a citizen like you whose rights have been violated, we are strengthening the liberties of all Americans.
If you have been wrongly arrested or the police have violated your constitutional rights in any way, call the Singleton Law Firm today for a free consultation. It will be our privilege to help you stand up to law officers who have abused their power and disrespected our nation’s constitution.