Being wrongfully arrested is a traumatic experience that can have long-lasting effects on your life. It is important to understand your rights and know how to best protect yourself.
Wrongful arrest occurs when a person is arrested by a police officer or security guard unlawfully – without probable cause or without the proper legal procedures being followed. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as mistaken identity, racial profiling, or police misconduct. Wrongful arrest not only damages the reputation and emotional well-being of the individual involved, but it can also result in financial losses due to legal fees, lost wages, and other expenses.
There are legal protections against wrongful arrest.
In South Carolina, individuals have certain legal protections against wrongful arrest. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, which includes the right to be free from unjustified arrest. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution provides protection against self-incrimination and the right to due process.
What constitutes wrongful arrest in SC?
Wrongful arrest occurs when an individual is unlawfully detained by law enforcement without cause or beyond their scope of power. This means that the arresting officer must have acted with disregard for the law or without legal authority when making the arrest for it to be considered wrongful. In such cases, you may be able to collect damages from the arresting officer in a civil lawsuit if you are able to prove that they acted outside of their authority.
There are steps you can take to seek justice.
Filing a complaint with the law enforcement agency that arrested you or your loved one is the first step. Be sure to provide as many details as possible about the arrest and any evidence that supports what happened and supports your claim of wrongful arrest. If the law enforcement agency does not respond to your complaint, you may consider hiring an attorney who specializes in civil rights cases because they can help you determine whether you have a case and how the situation may be best represented for you in court.
There are many civil rights organizations in South Carolina that may be able to provide assistance and specific support to individuals who have been wrongfully arrested. Some of the organizations may also provide free or low-cost legal assistance – or they may refer you to an attorney who can help you further.
It is important to keep notes and document everything. Put together detailed records of everything that happened during the arrest including:
- the time and location of the arrest
- the names of the officers involved
- how the situation occurred
- what was said
- items that may have been taken
- and any witnesses who were present in the area at the time.
Almost any pertinent information about the event can turn out to be important evidence in your case.
Can you get compensation for a wrongful arrest?
If you were wrongfully arrested in South Carolina and can prove that law enforcement acted outside of their authority, then you may be eligible for compensation from the arresting officer and/or the department responsible for your unlawful detainment. Depending upon the specifics of your case, these damages can include both economic (e.g., reimbursement of any fines paid) and non-economic (e.g., pain and suffering) losses suffered as a result of your wrongful arrest. It is important to note, however, that every case is different so it is always best to consult with an experienced attorney before taking any action in pursuit of compensation for a wrongful arrest claim.
You have legal protections and options available to seek justice. Being wrongfully arrested can damage your reputation, emotional well-being, and result in financial losses due to legal fees, lost wages, and other expenses.
If you or someone you know has been wrongfully arrested, it is essential to take action and seek justice. You can file a complaint with the law enforcement agency that made the arrest, hire an attorney who specializes in civil rights cases, or contact a civil rights organization for assistance and support. It is crucial to document everything that happened during the arrest, including the time and location of the arrest, the names of the officers involved, and any witnesses who were present. This information can be important evidence in your case.
The Floyd Law Firm is here to help you as our experienced defense attorneys can help you fight for your rights, get compensation for any damages, and ensure that justice is served. Attorney T. Jarrett Bouchette is a trial attorney and shareholder in the Floyd Law Firm. His experience is broad-based and includes bench and jury trials in both civil and criminal court. He routinely handles civil rights cases involving wrongful arrest, excessive force, and claims arising out of § 1983 U.S.C. Mr. Bouchette also currently serves as a board member of the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (SCACDL) and is a member of the National College for DUI Defense.