False arrest is something that unfortunately happens more often than we would like to see in the United States. However, in order to fully understand false arrest, we must take a look at probable cause. In a nutshell, probable cause is the standard by which all criminal arrests must meet. The actual definition of probable cause reads as this: “more than bare suspicion: probable cause exists where the facts and circumstances within the officers’ knowledge and of which they had reasonable trustworthy information are sufficient in themselves to warrant a man of reasonable caution in the belief that an offense has been or is being committed” (Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 175-76 ). As you may be able to gather, probable cause is a pretty low standard for an arrest. This often leads to people getting arrested and falsely accused of a crime they did not commit.
While the intention behind probable cause is to keep law enforcement agents in check and make sure they are not arresting anyone they please, many people are still wrongfully taken into custody under a false arrest. Two of the most common charges brought against police officers and other law enforcement agents are false arrest and malicious prosecution. Given the events of the last several years, understanding false arrest and probable cause are even more important.
What You Need to Know About a False Arrest Claim
It is important to note that a false arrest only happens in the absence of probable cause, not in the absence of guilt, which are two very different things. In order to make a false arrest claim, the following needs to take place:
You must be able to prove that the arresting officer used force or their authority in order to restrain the victim against their will
- You must be able to prove that the victim was unable to leave without facing retaliation
- You must be able to prove that the arresting officer intentionally restricted the victim’s right to freedom without probable cause to do so
- You must be able to prove that the officer did not have a legitimate reason to arrest the victim
As you can see, these types of cases are quite complicated. In most cases, the circumstances surrounding a false arrest are brought to light during a trial. These types of cases are some of the most fact-specific out there, which is why it is so important you have a knowledgeable attorney by your side. Because false arrest and probable cause are such sensitive areas of law, it is imperative you retain the services of a criminal attorney who understands the judicial system and how these types of cases work.
Here at Atkins & Markoff, we believe that no one should ever be arrested for a crime they did not commit. We take claims of false arrest extremely serious and will work around the clock to prove there was no probable cause for the arrest, should we find you were indeed arrested under false pretenses. To schedule a consultation with one of our Oklahoma attorneys or to learn more about false arrests and probable cause in Oklahoma, please contact us today.