Unlawful Detention, occurs when a police officer or other state actor, acts under the color of state law to deprive an individual of their Fourth Amendment Constitutional right to be free from illegal searches and seizures. In everyday speak, an unlawful detention occurs when a police officer detains you for an unreasonable amount of time without probable cause to do so. This “detention” does not necessarily mean an actual arrest. Unlawful detention may occur if an individual is detained for an unreasonable amount of time
A police officer doesn’t necessarily need to arrest or charge an individual for there to be an unlawful detention. Typically, if the individual reasonably believes they are not free to leave without fear of arrest then they are detained. This does not mean an officer may not confront an individual. Police officers may at all times confront an individual and ask them questions. This is known as a consensual encounter. An officer may also briefly detain an individual if they have reasonable suspicion supported by clearly articulated facts that a crime may be afoot. This kind of interaction with Police is called a Terry stop. A Terry stop which may become a full blown detention if it lasts for an unreasonable amount of time or if other factors such as handcuffing or detention make the brief detention feel more like a traditional arrest.
Other factors such as the duration of the detention, whether an individual was incarcerated, whether excessive force causing injury was used against the individual, and whether the individual was maliciously prosecuted for a crime not supported by probable cause will also affect the merits and potential success of an unlawful detention case.
There is never a charge for a Free Consultation. If you decide to retain us to pursue your claim there are typically no upfront expenses.
If you believe you have been the victim of an unlawful detention, or other constitutional violation contact the Norman Law Firm today.