What Can I Do When I’m Unlawfully Arrested? Here’s What You Need to Know

A simple traffic stop can quickly turn into an arrest, and the person being arrested may not even know what they’ve done wrong.

A simple traffic stop can quickly turn into an arrest, and the person being arrested may not even know what they’ve done wrong. While most arrests are lawful, even if they may be due to a mistake, there is a chance someone will be arrested unlawfully. Knowing what to do can be the difference between having the charges dismissed or end up with a criminal record.

Know Your Rights

Everyone should understand what their rights are. While a Felony criminal defense lawyer will help ensure their rights are upheld, this is only long after the arrest has occurred. The main rights a person has will include the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. Those who are stopped by the police do not have to answer any questions, though they will need to identify themselves, and can request a lawyer before talking to the police about anything.

Do Not Try to Fight the Arrest

It’s important to remember to stay calm throughout the interaction with the police and to avoid running or trying to resist the arrest. An arrest cannot be fought before it happens. Instead, what will happen is the person will be arrested and charged with resisting arrest on top of the other charge. When the other charge is dropped because it was unlawful, the person will still be facing a charge for resisting arrest, meaning they could still end up with a criminal record at the end of everything, even if they did nothing wrong originally. Leave fighting the charges for the courtroom to avoid added criminal charges.

Ask to Speak with a Lawyer Before Answering Questions

Police officers will try to talk about the situation and find out what is going on. It may seem simple enough to explain that the arrest is unlawful and talk about why, but this is never a good idea. Instead, the person should refuse to answer any questions before they speak with a lawyer. If they do answer any questions, they may end up saying something that makes it more difficult for the lawyer to fight the unlawful charges, though they might not realize they did anything wrong. The officers may be able to twist their words to make it seem like the arrest was lawful or find something else to charge them with based on what they say.

Challenge the Arrest in the Court System

The time to fight the unlawful charges is in the court system. A lawyer can review the charges and the evidence, then help the person with their defense. If the charges are unlawful, the lawyer will be able to have them dismissed. If the person resisted arrest, however, the charges for resisting arrest may still stick, which means the lawyer will need to provide a defense and the person may end up in court trying to challenge that charge. The person also has the option to file a complaint about police misconduct, under the advice of their lawyer.  

If you are ever in a situation where you believe you’re being arrested unlawfully, remember not to fight the charges while you’re talking with the police. Instead, wait to see if you are arrested and then hire a lawyer to help you with these charges. The lawyer can fight the charges in the courtroom to help you avoid a charge of resisting arrest. 

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