Wrongful Arrest in Charleston, SC?
Wrongful arrest in Charleston, SC?
What happens when a police officer decides that you have committed a crime when there is no evidence of a crime… case dismissed? It should be if you have the right defense lawyer.
But, does it end there? If you were detained, handcuffed, searched, jailed, booked and fingerprinted, your photograph published on the internet, and then forced to retain a criminal defense attorney while there is a criminal charge, possible jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record hanging over your head, shouldn’t someone be held accountable for that?
If there was probable cause for your arrest – a low standard of proof that means there was some credible evidence – you do not have a lawsuit against the police, although you may have a lawsuit against the person or business who called the police if they were negligent or malicious in their reporting.
If there was no probable cause for your arrest – the police charged you either because they were incompetent (negligent) or because they were intentionally charging you with a crime they knew you were not guilty of (i.e. contempt of cop for not respecting an officer’s authority), then you might have a lawsuit.
Understanding that any civil rights lawsuit for wrongful arrest is an uphill battle with significant legal hurdles like qualified immunity (if the officer was acting in “good faith,” and not violating a “clearly established” right, your lawsuit will be dismissed), if you were the victim of a wrongful arrest in Charleston, SC, you should pursue a claim against the police if possible.
Can I Sue the Police for a Wrongful Arrest in Charleston, SC?
The first thing that you need to do is get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your case as soon as possible.
If your case is not dismissed, if you pay a fine, if you accept an offer of pretrial diversion, if there is a finding of probable cause at a preliminary hearing, if you make the wrong statement to the prosecutor, officer, or judge in your case, or if you are found guilty of a crime related to the incident, it could shut down your chance of a successful lawsuit to hold the government accountable.
If there was no probable cause for your arrest and there is the possibility that you will have a civil claim, your criminal defense lawyer will need to handle your case carefully, avoiding the many pitfalls that could prevent you from recovering after your criminal charges are resolved.
We will investigate your circumstances, not only to find the evidence we need to get your case dismissed but also to gather and preserve any evidence that you may need if you do have a civil claim at the end of your criminal case.
You Can Support Law Enforcement and Demand Accountability from the Police
You can support law enforcement and insist that they use their authority responsibly – the two are not mutually exclusive.
Filing a lawsuit against the police or the government is often the only way to demand accountability and to slowly, incrementally, achieve positive changes in the way that law enforcement is trained and in the way that law enforcement leadership covers up misconduct and protects their officers even when they are hurting the public instead of protecting the public.
To be clear – I fully support our local enforcement. We need law enforcement, or our society would quickly devolve into anarchy where the strong take what they want with impunity.
I’m also not blind, and I see that, if someone does not police the police – and they are often incapable of policing themselves – the police become the strong who take what they want, rob, beat, and kill citizens with impunity.
If you were truly arrested without probable cause, you should demand accountability and compensation.
If you were beaten or hurt by an out-of-control police officer, you should demand accountability and compensation.
If your loved one was killed by a police officer without justification, you must demand accountability and compensation.
What Types of Criminal Charges Can Result in a Lawsuit for Wrongful Arrest in Charleston, SC?
Any arrest where there is no probable cause for the charges is a wrongful arrest, although there are circumstances that may prevent your recovery like where the Court or jury finds that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity.
Lawsuits for damages against the government or police department are not limited to wrongful arrests – they may also include other claims like assault and battery, malicious prosecution, or even wrongful death.
Wrongful Arrest for DUI
Wrongful arrests for DUI are often more difficult to prove, but if you:
- Were arrested for DUI;
- Were not intoxicated on alcohol or drugs;
- Immediately got an independent test proving that you were not intoxicated on alcohol or drugs; and
- There were no other charges or potential charges that could have justified your arrest; then
- You may have a civil lawsuit against the police after your DUI is dismissed or you are acquitted at trial.
Wrongful Arrest for Public Intoxication
Like wrongful arrests for DUI, if you were wrongfully arrested for public intoxication, you will need to prove that you were not intoxicated and there was no other potential justification for your arrest.
Wrongful Arrest for Disorderly Conduct
What happens if you “talk back” to a police officer? Or criticize them or curse at them?
Hopefully, the officer will be professional and show restraint – you have the right to criticize, disagree with, and even use profanity towards a police officer as long as your language does not rise to the level of “fighting words.”
If you are arrested for “contempt of cop” because you were exercising your First Amendment right to speak your mind, and there was no other potential justification for your arrest, you may have a civil lawsuit against the officer or government after your case is dismissed or you are acquitted at trial.
Wrongful Arrest for Shoplifting
Wrongful arrests for shoplifting are more common than you might think – department stores and other corporations like Walmart, Target, Dillard’s, and others have become far too aggressive in their loss prevention efforts, resulting in detentions, arrests, and sometimes assaults on innocent persons who had no intent to steal anything…
If you were wrongfully accused of shoplifting and subjected to a wrongful arrest in Charleston, SC, you should hold the police and the store that caused your arrest accountable and demand compensation.
Criminal Defense and Civil Rights Lawyer in Charleston, SC
If you are the victim of a wrongful arrest in Charleston, SC or the surrounding area, criminal defense attorney Grant B. Smaldone will help you to investigate your case, get the charges dismissed or take your case to trial, and determine whether you have a civil claim against the police under the SC Tort Claims Act, federal law, or both.
Call now at (843) 808-2100 or send an email to set up a free initial consultation today.