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What is False Arrest?

False arrest, also occasionally referred to as wrongful arrest or false imprisonment, occurs when you are illegally held in custody or against your will. This crime may be committed by regular people and law enforcement agents alike — all it takes is someone acting outside of the scope of his or her legal authority.

False arrest is not to be confused with kidnapping. Although there are some similarities, kidnapping is a different (and more serious) crime, as the kidnapper intends some sort of harm to the victim.

False arrest committed by police officers

To be considered guilty of committing false arrest, a law enforcement officer must do more than simply arrest someone without proper evidence. The officer must have been clearly acting outside of the scope of his or her powers or authority. An officer would not be guilty of false arrest, for example, in a case in which the arrest was made based on another person’s sworn statement. Even if that statement turns out to have been a lie, the officer would have been operating within his or her authority based on the reasonable evidence available at the time.

However, officers could be guilty of false arrest if, for example, they arrested someone because they didn’t like the person or because the person did something the officer did not like.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to use false arrest as part of your defense strategy when charged with a crime. To learn more about your options, speak with knowledgeable Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.


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