Being arrested is one of the most stressful experiences you can have. Being detained, cuffed and taken into custody can be traumatic. Your personal property may be searched and could be damaged; you could even get hurt. If you resist, you could incur a criminal charge for your conduct alone. Unfortunately, sometimes even innocent people are arrested for crimes they did not commit. A lawful arrest would be one that is performed according to protocol of probable cause and in compliance with California penal code 142-181 arrest laws. An unlawful arrest, also called a false arrest, occurs when you are arrested by a peace officer, usually a police officer, in absence of any probable cause for a lawful arrest. When a police officer arrests you, he or she is doing it based on probable cause; they have probable cause to arrest you based on a belief you have broken the law. If they have no probable cause to arrest you, the arrest would be unlawful and a direct violation of your right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, as set forth in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. This protects you from being arrested by an officer for no good reason. An officer cannot arrest you based on a gut feeling suspicion or with ill will. Of course, mistakes still happen and sometimes arrests are made for other reasons than probable cause. In the eyes of the law, police officers are allowed to use their own judgment in determining whether or not there is probable cause. Police officers have freedom to use their discretion in arresting people and the courts take their word seriously. This does not mean they can make up a reason to arrest you or arrest you based on personal feelings. It does mean that sometimes, innocent people are arrested because the officer felt there was probable cause for the arrest, even though there was not. Even if they knew there was no probable cause, it is not unheard of for officers to arrest people for other reasons entirely. It does happen and when it does, it causes irreparable damages to the innocent victim. Being arrested, even if you are acquitted of the charges, will show up on your criminal record. Being arrested may also be a traumatic experience. If you have been wrongfully arrested and it is clear there was no probable cause, you may be able to take the case to court to collect damages. If the officer does have probable cause to arrest you and you resist that arrest, you could be charged with resisting arrest. Resisting arrest is a serious charge and can come from a variety of actions, even nonviolent ones. You can be charged with resisting arrest if you resist, delay or obstruct a lawful arrest. You could be charged with resisting arrest if you delay the arrest by giving the cop the run around, struggle while they try to put handcuffs on you or refuse to provide identifying information to them. However, you cannot be charged with resisting arrest if the arrest was unlawful. If you feel like you have been unlawfully arrested or are being charged with resisting arrest, consult with a criminal defense attorney to discuss your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to listen to your story, evaluate the case facts and recommend any possible defense options. A wrongful arrest is a violation of your rights and protections as a citizen and you can fight back. The ramifications of being arrested are significant, even if it does not end in a conviction. It will show up on your criminal record. It could affect your job prospects; render you ineligible for certain benefits and can follow you on your criminal record for years to come. You could also be discriminated against for housing, volunteer opportunities or some kinds of financial assistance. There are laws in California helping protect those who have been unlawfully arrested or were arrested but acquitted of the charge. For employment purposes, California employers are not allowed to ask potential employees or employees about arrests that did not end in a conviction. It will still show up on your criminal record however and is worth fighting for to keep clean.
If you or a loved one has recently been arrested and you believe it may have been an unlawful arrest, call experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can listen to your story and help you prepare a strategic defense to defend your rights. Contact our offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.