Columbia Wrongful Arrest Lawyer

When you have been wrongfully arrested in Columbia, SC, contact Shealey Law Firm. We are experienced litigators who assist people when they are mistreated by law enforcement.

You may deserve compensation, and you can hold law enforcement accountable when they act unlawfully towards you. To see how a false arrest attorney can assist you, contact a civil rights lawyer on our legal team to talk about your case.

Columbia Lawyers for Wrongful Arrest Cases

In South Carolina and throughout the United States, you have the right to be free to go about your business. The police can’t go around arresting anyone they want to. Police can only arrest people in lawful circumstances. If they make a false arrest, they may have legal liability to the victim.

What is wrongful arrest?

Wrongful arrest is the legal liability that the police may have when they place someone under arrest without the lawful authority to do so. Wrongful arrest is also called false arrest or false imprisonment.

Understanding Wrongful Arrest

  • Police can act only within their lawful authority. There are limits to what they can do.
  • To make an arrest, the police must have probable cause. Probable cause to make an arrest is a reasonable belief that someone is guilty of a crime.
  • Evaluating probable cause is done from the vantage point of an objective person. It is not the officer’s subjective belief at the time of the arrest.
  • Hindsight is not a factor in evaluating probable cause. Probable cause is based on what a reasonable person in the arresting officer’s position knew and would have thought at the time of the arrest.
  • Victims of wrongful arrest may bring a claim for financial compensation.

Courts use an objective standard in reviewing wrongful arrest and false imprisonment because they believe it is best for achieving even application of law enforcement objectives. Courts – and victims – are not required to take the officer’s word for it that they believed the person arrested committed a crime. Rather, the court may review the facts known to the officer through the lens of a reasonable person. Horton v. California.

A wrongful arrest claim is a civil claim brought by the victim of the arrest. The offending officer may also face criminal charges or employment consequences, but those alone do not compensate the victim for what has happened. By bringing a civil claim, the victim can bring attention to law enforcement misconduct and claim financial compensation that is appropriate for what happened.

Police Department Arrest Statistics in Columbia, SC

The City of Columbia, South Carolina police department responded to 174,407 calls for service in 2021. They made 4,220 arrests. There were 51 use of force reports and 81 employee misconduct complaints for the department in 2021.

Do You Need a Wrongful Arrest Attorney?

When a wrongful arrest occurs, a victim is deprived of their liberty. Their freedom is restricted. Whether it lasts for a long time or a short time, a victim of wrongful arrest is physically, mentally and emotionally harmed. It can damage their reputation, ability to work, relationship with family members and overall health.

At Shealey Law Firm, we take your case seriously. We understand that wrongful arrest is harmful to the victim, their family and the integrity of law enforcement.

Malicious prosecution

Malicious prosecution is another type of improper law enforcement action, like wrongful arrest. In a malicious prosecution, the state pursues criminal charges in bad faith or with bad intent.

A malicious prosecution has the following elements:

  • Malice
  • Lack of probable cause
  • Injury or damage to the victim

It’s not necessary to prove that the prosecutor or solicitor acted out of spite or revenge. Malice can be implied in multiple circumstances:

  • Disregarding the consequences of their actions
  • Bringing the case for their own gratification
  • Ignoring the rights of others
  • Lack of probable cause to bring the case

A bill of indictment is prima facie evidence of probable cause in a malicious prosecution case. However, it is not conclusive. (Kinton v. Mobile Home Indus., Inc.)

If you are the victim of malicious prosecution, you may have a legal claim.

Wrongful Arrest Case FAQs

Can you sue for false arrest in South Carolina?

A victim of false arrest in South Carolina may bring a civil claim. The claim may result in a finding of responsibility against those involved as well as financial compensation for the victim.

How do you sue for wrongful arrest?

To sue for wrongful arrest, you bring a civil claim. The victim initiates the claim, and they may have a wrongful arrest attorney represent them. Legal documents state who is responsible, what happened to create legal liability and the relief requested.

How much is a wrongful arrest lawsuit worth?

How much a wrongful arrest lawsuit is worth is different in each case, depending on the nature and circumstances of the events. In January 2023, Shealey Law Firm won a total of $550,000 in compensatory damages for a client who was wrongfully arrested in being accused of falsifying a police report, which then escalated when she was tasered in her own bed. Consult with our lawyers about your wrongful arrest case’s potential value, as past results are not indicative of future results.

Can you resist an unlawful arrest in South Carolina?

According to State v. Poinsett, a person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. But you must be careful. An arrest is not unlawful simply because it is based on false information. For resisting to be okay, the arrest must be incorrect and grounded in bad faith or malice. Practically, you run the risk of force being used against you, causing injury, as well as a charge of resisting arrest.

When does the statute of limitations for false arrest begin to run?

The statute of limitations for false arrest in South Carolina begins to run at the termination of imprisonment – not when criminal proceedings end. (See Canzater v. Columbia).

How a Lawyer for Wrongful Arrest in Columbia Can Help

Shealey Law Firm is a team of trained, experienced litigators. We know that holding law enforcement accountable for their actions takes diligence and dedication. We pursue your legal rights and interests aggressively when offending officers refuse to admit liability, try to minimize what happened or attempt to cover up their actions.

You need a lawyer that you can trust. That is what you can expect from Shealey Law Firm. We capably represent clients facing difficult situations from wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

To learn more about your rights and how we may assist you, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. Talk to a lawyer today about your situation.


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