Wrongful Arrest: What to Do if it Happens to You

Being the victim of a wrongful arrest can be terrifying and traumatic and leave you feeling upset and angry. As well as this, an unlawful arrest may lead to a psychological or physical injury and could cause long-term damage to your reputation.

If you think you have been wrongfully arrested, then keep reading below, where we will discuss more about wrongful arrest and what you should do if it happens to you:

The Law

The law states that police officers must have a lawful reason to arrest you. It also says that they are only allowed to perform an arrest if all other options have been exhausted. As well as this, police are expected to follow a strict set of procedures when making an arrest. If all the rules and guidelines are not followed correctly, then it is classed as a wrongful or unlawful arrest, and a wrongful arrest claim against the police can be made.

What Must a Police Officer Do During an Arrest?

If a police officer arrests you, they must:

  • Inform you they are a police officer
  • Tell you that you are being arrested
  • Explain to you why you are being charged and what crime you have committed
  • Tell you why they have no other option but to arrest you
  • Remind you that you are not allowed to leave

They are also permitted to use reasonable force. For example, if you try and flee or become violent, they are permitted to pin you down or hold you until help arrives. They may also be allowed to use a taser or baton if appropriate.

You can claim wrongful arrest if a police officer fails to follow these rules.

Your Rights if You Are Arrested

Whether you are arrested lawfully or unlawfully, you have the same rights. The basic human rights law means that, if you are charged, you have the right to:

  • Be treated with respect
  • Be treated humanely
  • Seek legal advice
  • Contact someone to let them know you have been arrested
  • Talk to a custody officer who is responsible for taking care of your welfare

As well as this, it is also important to note that you can only be detained in a police cell for a maximum of 24 hours unless you are suspected of a more serious crime, in which case it increases to 36 hours.

How to Make a Claim for Wrongful Arrest

If you feel you have been wrongfully arrested, you can make a claim against the arresting officers as soon as you arrive at the police station. Simply explain to the custody officer that you want to make a complaint. They will take you to a private room where you can discuss your complaint and explain your reasons behind it. For example, if you feel that it was unnecessary to make an arrest, you will need to explain why you think this. It is also possible to start a claim for wrongful arrest once you leave the custody suite, but you may need the support of an institutional abuse lawyer to do this successfully.

The good news is that in the case of wrongful arrest, it is the police who must prove they were following the rules and regulations correctly, so you do not have to prove they were not. You simply need to explain why you think they were in the wrong.

Whether it is the case of mistaken identity, inaccurate police intelligence, or the police not following detaining procedures correctly, a wrongful arrest can be terrifying and stressful. As well as this, it can also have a detrimental effect on your mental health and your reputation. This is why so many people choose to take matters further and sue the officers who performed the arrest.

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