False Arrest

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

False Arrest

A tort (a civil wrong) that consists of an unlawful restraint of an individual's personal liberty or freedom of movement by another purporting to act according to the law.

The term false arrest is sometimes used interchangeably with that of the tort of False Imprisonment, and a false arrest is one method of committing a false imprisonment. A false arrest must be perpetrated by one who asserts that he or she is acting pursuant to legal authority, whereas a false imprisonment is any unlawful confinement. For example, if a sheriff arrests a person without any Probable Cause or reasonable basis, the sheriff has committed the torts of false arrest and false imprisonment. The sheriff has acted under the assumption of legal authority to deprive a person unlawfully of his or her liberty of movement. If, however, a driver refuses to allow a passenger to depart from a vehicle, the driver has committed the tort of false imprisonment because he or she unlawfully restrains freedom of movement. The driver has not committed false arrest, however, since he or she is not claiming to act under legal authority. A person who knowingly gives police false information in order to have someone arrested has committed the tort of Malicious Prosecution.

An action can be instituted for the damages ensuing from false arrest, such as loss of salary while imprisoned, or injury to reputation that results in a pecuniary loss to the victim. Ill will and malice are not elements of the tort, but if these factors are proven, Punitive Damages can be awarded in addition to Compensatory Damages or nominal damages.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

false arrest

n. physically detaining someone without the legal right to do so. Quite often this involves private security people, or other owners or employees of retail establishments who hold someone without having seen a crime commited in their presence or pretend that they are police officers. While they may be entitled to make a "citizen's arrest" they had better be sure that they have a person who has committed a crime, and they must call law enforcement officers to take over at the first opportunity. Other common false arrest situations include an arrest by a police officer of the wrong person or without probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and/or without a warrant. Only when the arresting party knowingly holds someone who has not committed a crime, is the false arrest itself a crime. However, probable false arrest can be the basis of a lawsuit for damages, including mental distress and embarrassment. (See: false imprisonment)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The probable cause determination was fatal to both state and federal malicious prosecution claims and the claims for false arrest and false imprisonment, Gibney said.
Apple is being sued for $1 billion in damages by an 18-year-old college student who blames the company's facial recognition software for his false arrest and for wrongly tying him to thefts at Apple stores in several states.
In March 2017 Payson ruled in favor of McKnight on her claims against Vasile for false arrest, false imprisonment, and battery.
Fridl and Hemmingsen had sued the sheriff's office for malicious prosecution, false arrest and imprisonment, civil conspiracy, defamation and abuse of process.
But Phinney's family members believe that what happened to him was 'a false arrest, failed extortion, a murder and a government cover-up.'
False arrest is a rare but real problem that can have searing consequences, from job loss to the destruction of a reputation.
He told 7DAYS that he will ask a federal judge for $450 million compensation over his false arrest.
HOPES have emerged of a public inquiry into claims of police brutality and the false arrest of 95 men including four from Durham during the year-long miners' strike.
Phil Spencer & Gerry Crowther THERE is fresh hope of a public inquiry into claims of police brutality and the false arrest of 95 men including four from Durham during the year-long miners strike.
The Chicago Police Department declined to comment on the case due to the pending lawsuit, but police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi wrote in an email that the department's officers "strive to treat all individuals with the highest levels of dignity of respect." As a direct result of the incident, the lawsuit says, Al-Matar has "suffered violations of her constitutional rights, emotional anxiety, fear, humiliation, monetary loss, embarrassment, fear, pain and suffering and future pain and suffering." The lawsuit charges that Al-Matar was subject to the use of excessive force, false arrest, unlawful search, a violation of the freedom of religious expression as defined by the First and Fourth constitutional amendments, and malicious prosecution.
Johns alleges he was subjected to false arrest and imprisonment and denied equal protection rights based upon his race "and/or gender."