Elements of a Wrongful Arrest
30th December 2020
If you believe you were wrongfully arrested, contact us for immediate representation and advice.
We can usually rely on law enforcement to protect us and to maintain order in our communities. Unfortunately, some members of the force take advantage of their roles. As a result, law-abiding citizens can be arrested on criminal charges without sufficient just cause.
Being arrested is a terrifying experience for anyone. It can be especially confusing for an innocent person. Additionally, the effects reach far beyond the day of the arrest. If your name isn’t cleared, you can face fines, serve time, and lose job opportunities over a crime you did not commit. Here’s what you need to know about being arrested and when the arrest is wrongful.
What Happens When You’re Arrested
After being transported to the police station, suspects are booked. During this process, an officer makes a record of the suspect’s personal information as well as details about the arrest and alleged offense. The office will also search police records to see if the suspect has any prior offenses. The suspect is fingerprinted and photographed. Additionally, he or she must surrender any belongings before being jailed or confined in a holding cell. Suspects are also searched to make sure they’re not bringing any contraband in with them. In North Dakota, most arrest records are made available to the public.
See FAQ: What to Expect When You Get Arrested in North Dakota
Abuses of Power That Lead to Wrongful Arrest
Arrests Without Proper Cause
According to North Dakota law, an officer must have reasonable cause to believe the arrestee has committed a crime. Police officers should be able to objectively point to circumstances leading them to believe a suspect committed an illegal offense. However, arrests are still made without cause, without warrants, and without proof of a crime. Many cases eventually get tossed from courts for lack of probable cause.
Arrests Based on False or Planted Evidence
An officer who is caught falsifying or concealing evidence could face up to five years of imprisonment. Despite the possible consequences, crooked law enforcement have planted evidence like weapons, drugs, and alcohol to justify their actions. Similarly, false evidence like rigged breathalyzer results can be presented as if they’re authentic. Sometimes these false arrests happen when officers are pressured to meet ticket and arrest quotas.
Arrests Based on False Testimonies
In most arrests, the only testimony is provided by the police officer. When officers exaggerate what they saw or simply testify to something that did not happen, they violate the public trust and the Constitution. It is also possible for officers to fabricate witness statements or pressure witnesses into making statements that aren’t accurate. Unfortunately, when it’s your word against theirs, the account of law enforcement almost always carries more weight. That is one reason why it is so important to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer can work on gathering evidence to support your innocence. This may include surveillance footage of your whereabouts at the time the crime took place, facts pointing to another suspect, and additional witness statements.
How do I Know if my Arrest was Wrongful?
Being arrested as an innocent person is not necessarily unlawful. However, there are processes that should be followed in any arrest. The fourth amendment grants us the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. It prohibits the police from arresting an individual without probable cause of a crime being committed. Similarly, an arrest based on a warrant that is granted based on false information can be considered a wrongful arrest. The police cannot enter your home without permission, search your vehicle without reasonable suspicion, or even temporarily detain you without a proper legal basis. Additionally, arrests based solely on race, gender, or religious beliefs are also wrongful arrests. Arrests based on malice and those done for personal gain are also causes for wrongful arrests.
How to go up Against the Police
Even when an arrest is wrongful, it is in your best interest to be compliant. This may protect you from being charged with preventing arrest. It may also protect you from being forcefully restrained and hurt in the process. Nonetheless, you have the choice to invoke your Miranda Rights. In other words, you have the right to remain silent so that you don’t make any incriminating statements that can later be used against you. You are also allowed to consult an attorney before speaking.
Your criminal defense attorney can help you with what to say and help you to determine the damages you can recover. These damages may very likely include lost wages. It is possible to miss out on a significant amount of pay while kept behind bars. The reputation hit you take after an arrest can also impact your income. Some employers let go workers who have an arrest on their record, and an arrest record is a hurdle when finding a replacement job.
If you have been injured by an officer who unjustly used excessive force during your arrest, you can sue for medical costs and other expenses associated with your injuries. Similarly, if an arrested person is fatally harmed without cause, his or her survivors may be able to pursue a wrongful death case.
Contact a North Dakota Criminal Defense Lawyer
A wrongful arrest does not have to ruin your future. If you or a loved one has been arrested without cause, the criminal defense lawyers of Sand Law can help to clear your name. Regardless of the type of charge, you stand to benefit from the representation of a qualified criminal defense attorney. For a free initial evaluation, contact us online or through our Live Chat feature, or call us at 701-609-1510.