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False Imprisonment and False Arrest

False imprisonment and false arrest are two civil rights violations that can result in serious damages for a victim. Both involve depriving a victim of the liberty to move about freely and live without fear of being arrested or restrained. If you have faced either of these violations, you could be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your related damages.

What is False Imprisonment?

False imprisonment is exactly what it sounds like: being held in custody without a legal justification for the custody. There are two types of false imprisonment: criminal false imprisonment, the offense of holding another individual against his or her will, and false imprisonment as an intentional tort. The latter is a civil offense and the offense following which a victim may pursue compensation for his or her related damages. In comparison, the former is a criminal act that can result in a convicted offender facing criminal penalties.

Civil false imprisonment is defined as the unlawful restraint of another individual against his or her will without legal justification to do so. The use of force is not necessary for an instance to be deemed an act of false imprisonment. Coercion or any other means to keep a victim in custody against his or her will is enough for an incident to be deemed an act of false imprisonment.

Examples of false imprisonment include:

  • An employer locking the door during the workday, preventing employees from leaving;
  • An individual holding onto another person and refusing to let him or her go, either through a strong grip or through a threat of violence;
  • Being detained by security in a public place for an unreasonable length of time, long beyond an appropriate time frame for questioning after an alleged criminal incident; and
  • Being detained by law enforcement after being deemed innocent.

Being held in custody despite being innocent of a crime is not necessarily false imprisonment. Examples of legally justified imprisonment include:

  • Being held in police custody after a lawful arrest; and
  • Being held for a reasonable amount of time for questioning by security after allegedly shoplifting or committing another offense in a public place.

What is False Arrest?

Similar to false imprisonment, false arrest is the violation that occurs when an individual is arrested without a legal justification for the arrest. As with false imprisonment, being innocent of a crime does not mean that an arrest related to the alleged crime is a false arrest – the lack of a legal justification for the arrest, such as an arrest occurring without a valid arrest warrant, is a false arrest.

Pursuing Monetary Compensation for your False Imprisonment or False Arrest Damages

If you suffer the following damages from an incident of false arrest or false imprisonment, you can file a personal injury claim to pursue compensation for your damages:

  • Medical bills related to an injury;
  • Psychological trauma from the arrest or imprisonment;
  • Lost wages from missed workdays and career advancement opportunities; and
  • Any other miscellaneous damages you suffered.

To recover monetary compensation for your false imprisonment or false arrest damages, you must demonstrate that another reasonable person would not have taken the same action when facing the same scenario. Your lawyer can help you prove this point through evidence like eyewitness accounts of the incident, photographs of the incident, and documentation showing the financial losses you suffered.

Work with an Experienced Riverside Civil Rights Attorney

False imprisonment and false arrest are two types of civil rights violation that can subject you to steep, lasting damages. If you feel you were subjected to false imprisonment, a false arrest, or another type of civil rights violation, work with an experienced civil rights lawyer to pursue monetary compensation for the damages you suffered. Get started with our team at Wagner & Pelayes LLP today by scheduling your initial legal consultation with us.

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