When is an arrest unlawful?

Many people never experience being arrested, but for those who do, it can be a frightening and distressing experience. Most of the time, arrests are made for good reason. However, there are occasional instances where a person is detained with no legal authority. This is called ‘wrongful arrest’.

Examples of wrongful arrest include:

  • Arrest without just cause.
  • Arrest of the wrong person.
  • Arrest based on race, sex or religion.
  • Arrest based on personal agenda.
  • Arrest with an arrest warrant that was obtained by false information.
  • Arrest without the mention of the subject’s rights.

Wrongful arrest is also known as ‘unlawful arrest’, ‘false arrest’ and ‘false imprisonment’. Being arrested wrongly not only frightens the victims, but it can also cause irreparable damage, mentally or physically. What if the victim has an undiagnosed heart condition and suffers a heart attack from the stress of the arrest? What if the victim resists arrest and ends up being caused physical harm by the police officer? These are both real consequences of wrongful arrest, so it’s important that these types of cases are taken seriously by the courts.

How do I prove unlawful arrest?

To prove that you have been arrested unlawfully, you will need to have evidence that you were detained, and that there was no legal authority to justify the arrest. There is no minimum period of detention for a claim, so even if you were only arrested and detained for ten minutes, you should still seek legal advice.

Remember, the arrest doesn’t have to be physical. A simple declaration of “You’re under arrest’ from the police counts as arresting someone.

Facts about Police detention

  • If you’re arrested and detained, you have a right to ask for legal advice. Once you’ve asked, the police can’t question you until you’ve got it, or unless the case is exceptionally serious.
  • The longest you can be detained before getting legal advice is 36 hours, or 48 hours if you’re suspected of terrorism.
  • The police have the right to take photos of you during your detention. They can also take fingerprints and a DNA swab from you. However, if they want to take a blood or urine sample, or a dental impression, they will require your permission.
  • However, if you have been arrested due to drink or drug driving, they may take a blood or urine sample without your permission.

If you think you have been the victim of an unlawful arrest, don’t suffer in silence! Contact DPP Law today, and speak to one of our expert solicitors who will be able to advise you on what to do next.

Posted on: Tue, 17 January 2017
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