Wrongful Arrest Cases: Helping To Clear Your Record and Receive Compensation
Wrongful arrest refers to law enforcement officials’ illegal detention of an individual without probable cause or a valid warrant. In Florida, an individual detained by law enforcement may have grounds to file a claim for damages against the law enforcement agency or officer responsible for the arrest. Knowing the elements of a wrongful arrest claim in Florida, how you may get compensated, and the steps you can take to protect yourself from unlawful arrest is important.
Elements of a Wrongful Arrest Claim in FloridaTo succeed in a wrongful arrest claim in Florida, the plaintiff (the person who has been detained or arrested by law enforcement) must prove the following elements:
- The defendant (the law enforcement agency or officer) intentionally or recklessly detained the plaintiff.
- The defendant did not have probable cause to arrest the plaintiff.
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the wrongful arrest.
Types of DamagesIf a plaintiff prevails in a wrongful arrest claim in Florida, they may be entitled to recover damages, including:
- Compensatory damages: These are damages that compensate the plaintiff for any losses suffered as a result of the wrongful arrest, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional distress.
- Punitive damages: These are damages to punish the defendant for their wrongful conduct and deter similar conduct in the future.
- Attorneys fees: Plaintiff may also be able to recover attorney fees incurred in pursuing a wrongful arrest claim against the defendant.
Steps You Can Take To Protect Yourself
- Know and assert your rights: Understand your rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures, including arrests. If you are under arrest by a law enforcement officer, assert your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney.
- Document or take mental notes of the arrest: If arrested, try to document as much information as possible about the arrest, including the names and badge numbers of the officers involved, the reason for the arrest, and any injuries or property damage that occurred.
- File a complaint: If you believe you have been wrongfully arrested, file a complaint with the law enforcement agency and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
- Contact an attorney: An attorney experienced in wrongful arrest cases can advise you on your legal rights, discuss your options, help you gather evidence, and build a strong case.