Warrants and Illegal Arrests: Understanding the Requirements for a Valid Arrest
Even if there is a warrant, a police officer may not have the right to arrest someone. If the warrant was not valid, the arrest could be illegal. A warrant for arrest can be wrong if:
It doesn't name you or give enough information about who you are,
It doesn't say what crime you are being arrested for,
It doesn't say what court issued the warrant, or police lied to a judge to prove they had probable cause to arrest you.
To get rid of a warrant, police must have made false statements that were a big part of the probable cause. The warrant is still good if the judge could have found probable cause even without the false statements.
But not all arrests made without a valid warrant are wrong. The officer who made the arrest can fight back against a claim of false arrest by saying that they were acting in good faith. A good faith defense can be proven by showing that: It looked like a warrant was valid, the officer thought it was valid, and the officer had a good reason to think it was for you.
Summary of police arrest without Warrant: Evidence of Probable Cause is Key to Legality
Police can arrest people without a warrant. Even though there must be a good reason for these arrests. If a police officer didn't have enough evidence to support the arrest, it was illegal. Once you show that you were arrested without a warrant, the officer has to show that there was probable cause. The police can show that they had a good reason:
You do something illegal in front of the officer or the officer has a good reason to think you did something illegal.
What the officer knew at the time of the arrest shapes what he or she thinks.
It looked like the warrant was valid, the officer thought it was valid, and the officer had a good reason to think it was for you.
Which are the Florida Lawsuit Requirements for False Arrest Claims?
In Florida, a false arrest claim is a civil lawsuit that arises when a person is wrongfully detained or restrained by law enforcement without probable cause. To bring a successful false arrest claim in Florida, the following requirements must generally be met:
Lack of Probable Cause: The plaintiff must show that the law enforcement officer did not have probable cause to arrest or detain them. Probable cause means that there is enough evidence to support a reasonable belief that the plaintiff has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime.
Intent: The plaintiff must show that the law enforcement officer intentionally or recklessly detained or restrained them without probable cause. The plaintiff must show that the officer knew or should have known that they did not have probable cause to arrest or detain them.
Detention or Restraint: The plaintiff must show that they were detained or restrained by the law enforcement officer. This can include being physically held, handcuffed, or placed in a police car.
Damages: The plaintiff must show that they suffered damages as a result of the false arrest, such as physical harm, emotional distress, lost wages, or legal fees.
It's important to note that Florida law provides certain immunities and defenses for law enforcement officers, including qualified immunity and the right to use reasonable force. However, these defenses may not apply if the officer acted outside the scope of their duties, used excessive force, or violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights.
What can I do if the police wrongly arrested me?
If you have been wrongfully arrested in Florida, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights and seek justice:
Request an Attorney: You have the right to request an attorney, and you should do so as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, gather evidence, and represent you in court.
Gather Evidence: If possible, gather evidence that supports your innocence, such as witness statements, surveillance footage, or physical evidence. Be sure to keep any paperwork related to your arrest, including police reports and court documents.
File a Complaint: You can file a complaint with the police department or law enforcement agency that arrested you. The complaint should include details about the arrest, such as the date, time, location, and the names of the officers involved.
Contact a Civil Rights Attorney: You may be able to bring a civil lawsuit against the police department or individual officers for false arrest, excessive force, or other civil rights violations. A civil rights attorney can help you evaluate your case and pursue legal action.
Stay Calm and Compliant: While it may be frustrating and emotionally challenging to be wrongfully arrested, it's important to remain calm and compliant during the arrest and throughout the legal process. This can help prevent further complications and protect your rights.
Possible defenses in Florida if you try to avoid being arrested
Not enough proof: For every resisting charge, the best defense is that it can't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Since the details of the crime are very vague, there is room for error. Your lawyer's job is to find flaws in the evidence or show where there aren't any.
"Resistance" Was Disputed: If the officer's word is the only proof, the case can sometimes be thrown out. Your criminal defense lawyer can try to find holes in the case, such as video evidence (body cams) or witness statements that contradict the officer's version of events.
Unwanted Reactions or Too Much Force: The law says that you must have "knowingly and willfully obstructed an officer" or had a "general intent" to resist. If you moved your arms or body to avoid getting hurt or feeling pain, the charge probably won't stick.
Illegal Arrests: You also have the right to stop an officer from arresting or detaining you without getting violent. This can happen if the police don't have enough probable cause or reasonable suspicion to arrest someone.
Lie-Based Claims: Too often, we've seen police make an arrest because they took something the wrong way or didn't like the tone of a defendant. This can lead to the officer making an arrest and accusing the suspect of being violent because they have nothing else to charge them with.
The police are in charge, but that doesn't mean they can do whatever they want. False arrests are easy to get rid of if there isn't enough proof. Possible defenses in Florida if you try to avoid being arrested
Here at the Arroyo Law Firm, we offer complete defense services and inexpensive payment plans to help offenders defend their rights. For a free case evaluation, reach out to us online or by phone at 407-770-9000. Knowing your alternatives won't cost you anything, even if you decide not to hire us.