False Arrest in Tennessee
When you are arrested, the harm it can cause to your personal and professional reputation is immeasurable. The question of whether you are guilty or innocent does not even matter. Once your friends, family, and employer discover the news of your arrest, the rumor mill is already hard at work chipping away at your character.
What’s even worse is that even if authorities did, indeed, “get the wrong guy,” they are not going to simply admit it. It will take a lot of time and work to get the charges dropped and your name cleared. If something like this has happened to you, it is important to understand exactly what a false arrest entails and how an experienced Franklin criminal defense lawyer can help.
What is a false arrest?
False arrest, sometimes called false imprisonment, happens when someone wrongfully takes you into custody or holds you against your will. Civilians and law enforcement can both commit this crime, although law enforcement has a much higher level of immunity.
Did You Know?
It is crucial we all recognize what a false arrest might look like. Red flags of a wrongful arrest include:
- Arresting without a warrant. Police cannot arrest you without a warrant, or without probable cause a crime occurred or is currently in progress.
- Planted evidence. We all know planting evidence is illegal, yet some dishonest police officers do it anyway – especially when they do not have the arrest warrant they want.
- Fabricated statements. Unfortunately in false arrest cases, it is usually the police officer’s word against yours. If dishonest law enforcement lies about the circumstances of an arrest, any innocent person can end up in the criminal justice system.
- Incorrect information. You could end up wrongly arrested if someone makes a clerical mistake on a warrant, authorities have the wrong name and address, or if you share the same name as the actual individual who committed the crime.
- Malice and intentional acts. In some cases, police officers may arrest a civilian for personal reasons, like retribution or vengeance.
We say this often, but it bears repeating – we rely on law enforcement to enforce our laws. Most of the time they do a good job with this. However, when they overstep their bounds, you need a lawyer on your side to protect your Constitutional rights.
I was falsely arrested. Were my civil rights violated?
It is certainly possible. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects you from “unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.” What this means is that law enforcement cannot arrest you without a warrant or without probable cause. Here are a few examples of the Fourth Amendment in action:
- A Wisconsin judge ruled police violated a man’s Fourth Amendment rights after entering a home he was in without a warrant, guns drawn, and handcuffing him for suspicion of trespassing.
- A recent Drake concert in New York City brought up Fourth Amendment concerns regarding criminal “geo-fencing.”
- In a 2022 traffic stop case where a police officer followed the suspect on foot into his garage, the defendant moved to suppress the evidence from said garage because it was gathered without a warrant. However, the court found in favor of the officer as there was probable cause of infractions.
In the event something like this happens, you should know what to do.
If you find yourself wrongly arrested
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) offers valuable advice on what to do if you find yourself under arrest. Follow these tips, whether you feel you are being wrongly arrested.
First and foremost, per the ACLU, to reduce any harm to yourself and your case, do not “resist arrest, even if you believe the arrest is unfair. Follow the officers’ commands.” Next:
- Tell the officer you want to exercise your Miranda rights and then ask for an attorney.
- Do not say anything and do not sign anything.
- You have the right to make a phone call. Per the ACLU, “The police cannot listen if you call a lawyer. They can and often will listen to a call made to anyone else.”
As soon as you are able, write down every single detail you remember about the arrest, including officer badge numbers, patrol car numbers, and other details. Get contact information from any witnesses. Our Franklin attorneys can help you file a complaint and any other appropriate legal action, including a lawsuit.
When you are facing charges from a wrongful or false arrest, you have absolutely no time to waste. We cannot stress enough how high the stakes are and, depending on the crime of which you are accused, you could be facing huge financial penalties and even time in prison.
Once you get a lawyer on your side, they begin building your case from the ground up – starting with why the police officer even thought they had the cause to arrest you in the first place. We work to have the charges dropped and ensure they are completely cleared from your record. If the way authorities treated you was particularly egregious or a blatant violation of your Constitutional rights, we will file a civil lawsuit on your behalf.
If prosecution will not drop the charges, we launch a vigorous defense in court. We negotiate with prosecutors, file every motion to toss illegally-secured evidence out of court, interview your alibis, and provide all possible proof that you were falsely arrested and your rights were violated.
The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates have decades of experience representing victims of false arrest. If you were wrongly arrested or detained and need the representation of an experienced attorney, we’re here to help. To schedule a consultation, call us or fill out our contact form today. We serve clients throughout Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood.