The Criminal Defense Law Center of
West Michigan

False Arrest

What Is Considered a False Arrest?

If you have been arrested, detained, or held against your will by a police officer, security guard, or other authoritative figures, you may wonder if some or all of their actions are legal. You may have a criminal or civil case to pursue if they were not.

These incidents are typically referred to as false arrests or unlawful detainment. False arrest victims may pursue a civil lawsuit seeking damages from those responsible. Courts examine specific criteria to determine if a false arrest occurred.

Read on for more information on the legal definition of false arrest, some examples of how it can occur, and the possible defenses our experienced attorneys can use to enhance your false arrest claim. Contact Stroleny Law P.A. for professional legal assistance in civil and criminal cases.

False Arrest Legal Definition

A false arrest is the illegal restriction of a person’s freedom to move. This could occur when:

  • An officer holds another individual against their will
  • An officer takes an individual into custody without consent or legal justification

Any person can be liable for false arrests, not just police officers. If you seek to prove you have been falsely arrested, you, the plaintiff, must demonstrate that:

  • The individual(s) you are suing intended to confine you
  • You were conscious of the confinement
  • You did not consent to the confinement
  • The confinement was not otherwise privileged

The Elements of A False Arrest

The intent is an essential element in proving you were unlawfully detained.  Since a false arrest is an intentional tort, the person who committed it has to have done so deliberately.


Police officers, security officers, managers, and owners are typically associated with Florida false arrest lawsuits. However, if the plaintiff cannot prove malicious intent, like in instances of a mistake, they will be unable to recover damages in claim or lawsuit.


Being conscious of your confinement means you were aware of your arrest.


If a suspect turns themselves in to the police for a crime and consents to being arrested, they cannot claim false arrest later. However, if your confession was illegally obtained or forced, our lawyers could help you clear your name. Speak with us immediately for a free consultation if this applies to you.


An arrest is privileged when it is legally justified. For example, a warrant or a court order will justify an arrest. Probable cause is an imperative element of a legal arrest. If you were detained without it, contact Stroleny Law, P.A. immediately.

Probable Cause

Probable cause exists when facts support that the person arrested has committed or was committing a crime. If the facts at the time of your arrest led a reasonable individual to believe the person had committed a crime, it would be hard to claim unlawful detainment. However, the details can be vague, and an experienced attorney can assist.

It does not matter if the officer righteously suspects that the person had committed a crime for probable cause to exist. It also does not matter if the person was guilty of an offense because guilt or innocence is up to the courts.

Corroborating evidence and victim and witness testimony can be used as probable cause in an arrest as long as it is reasonable to accept those testimonies due to the circumstances of the arrest. If you are arrested without probable cause, then you could recover compensation.

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment includes any unlawful confinement of a person. False arrest and false imprisonment are often used interchangeably. Stroleny Law, P.A. criminal defense attorneys are standing by in Florida to combat your false arrest or imprisonment today.

Unlawful Stops

An officer who unlawfully stops an individual on the street has not committed a false arrest. If a person is stopped, it is legally justified if the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the individual. Probable cause is needed to make an arrest. However, the length of time of the stop can turn a stop into a “detainment.”

Stroleny Law, P.A. Can Help With Your False Arrest

At Stroleny Law, P. A., we can start preparing your defense as soon as you get stopped. We will strive to protect your rights within Florida’s criminal justice system. By working with the legal team at Stroleny Law, P. A., we will fight to ensure that you are appropriately compensated and made whole for all that you’ve lost due to a false arrest. If you are facing criminal charges in Kent County, Michigan please contact Shawn Haff today at 616-438-6719.

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