There were approximately 860,000 people arrested in Florida in 2017. While the vast majority of these were lawful arrests, there were undoubtedly many which were unlawful. Unlawful arrests – sometimes called wrongful arrests or false arrests – can and do occur. Remember, the police do not always have your best interests in mind. Here what you need to know about your rights and what to do if you believe you have suffered an illegal Miami arrest.   

The Arrest Process

No two arrests are the same. Many circumstances make arrests different for everyone, including the people involved, the type of crime, the location, and the race and gender of the individual being arrested. Regardless, the arrest process does have a general structure.

 An arrest starts when the police verbally announce they are arresting you. They should read you the Miranda warning prior to asking you any questions. They will then transport you to the police station. Once there, you will be fingerprinted and photographed. 

 It is important to remember that you have certain rights before, during, and after an arrest. This is as true for lawful arrests as it is for false arrests. You have the right to:

  • Refuse to answer any questions
  • Know the crimes you are charged with
  • Know the police who are arresting you (including their name and badge number)
  • An attorney
  • Communicate with your attorney, family, and/or friends

It should also be noted that there is a difference between being detained and being arrested. Being detained is when the police stop you. They can question and search you during this detention, but they are not legally allowed to transport you anywhere unless you agree to it. There are also limits to how thorough of a search they can perform.

 The question now becomes just what is an unlawful arrest? 

What is an Unlawful Arrest?

The simplest answer to what defines an unlawful arrest is that it is an arrest made without probable cause or a warrant. This does not give much in the way of specifics, but it is a useful starting point. In order to prove you were the victim of an unlawful arrest in Florida, you will have to satisfy two requirements. You will need to prove that you were restrained against your will and that the restraint was unreasonable in nature given the circumstances.

 For example, you may have been pulled over by the police. They removed you from your vehicle because your clothes are rumpled, and they suspect you are intoxicated. They then arrest you, despite the fact that you passed both a breathalyzer and field sobriety test. This is likely an unlawful arrest.

 If, on the other hand, you were arrested at a football game after multiple witnesses stated they saw you start a fight with another attendee, your arrest is likely lawful. Remember to always consult with an attorney on the specifics of your case. 

Experienced Miami Illegal Arrest Attorneys

Piotrowski Law has a track record of client success. We are here to help you and make sure you have received proper treatment under the law. Chad Piotrowski, founding attorney, is a former Miami-Dade prosecutor. He knows what it takes to help you if you’ve been the victim of an illegal Miami arrest. Call today at (305) 204-5000 for a free consultation.