Knowing Your Rights: What is a False Arrest?
In most jurisdictions across the country, the rules for what makes a lawful arrest are similar. Officers must inform suspects that they are being arrested. This can be accomplished with a visible badge or uniform. Additionally, the officer must inform individuals on what crime they are being arrested for, unless revealing that information could lead to an escape or any other immediate dangers.
If an officer makes the arrest pursuant to a warrant, the person being arrested must be shown the warrant if he or she asks to see it. A warrant is an official document issued by an official body, such as a court, for someone’s arrest. If the warrant is invalid, however, the person being arrested could file a false arrest lawsuit.
What is a valid arrest warrant?
A warrant typically includes the following components:
- The name of the official body or court that issued the warrant
- The description or name of the person to be arrested pursuant to the warrant
- The reason for the arrest or offense the individual allegedly committed
The court issuing the warrant must have the authority and jurisdiction to do so. If the arresting officer intentionally provides false information or leaves out information to help obtain the warrant, he or she could be violating the law. The warrant is still likely valid, however, if missing or inaccurate information was included simply by mistake.
It is important to note that just because a person is innocent of a crime, it does not mean the officer did not have probable cause to make an arrest. An arrest is not a formal charge or conviction. Therefore, individuals cannot file false arrest lawsuits because they were arrested when actually innocent of the crime in question.