False arrest, also called wrongful arrest, is detaining someone without legal cause. False arrest is a civil offense. A Statute of Limitations is a legal deadline to file suit after an offense. It varies by state but is generally 2 to 3 years.
The most common suit is against store security guards for accusing customers of shoplifting and attempting to physically detain them. Police have partial legal immunity from false arrest allegations, called qualified immunity, but they remain liable if they arrest without probable cause, for mistaken identity or to abuse their power.
Wallace v. Kato
Prior to 2007, the courts were often liberal with plaintiffs, beginning the clock on the Statute of Limitations when a complaint was filed, an arrest was made or a prosecution began. In the 2007 Supreme Court decision on Wallace v. Kato, that changed. The clock starts now on the day of the offense itself, so the plaintiff is racing the clock to file the charges, and the defendant gains the advantage by procrastinating.
Results of Wallace v. Kato
The same year as Wallace v. Kato, 2007, Jose Lopez had his wrongful arrest case against the Chicago Police Department dismissed, based on Wallace v. Kato. Lopez was charged with murder in 2002 and arrested. According to Lopez, the conditions of that arrest were wrongful. He was not acquitted of the murder, however, until 2005. In 2006, he filed a false arrest tort. When the case was heard in 2007, given that the Statute of Limitations clock started when he was first arrested, Judge Der-Yeghiayan ruled for the plaintiff and vacated the charges.
- Photo Credit handcuffs image by William Berry from Fotolia.com
Statute of Limitations for False Arrest in New York
There are many circumstances when a false arrest may occur. The statute of limitations in New York for filing any notice of...
Statute of Limitations for False Imprisonment in California
False imprisonment is a civil wrong that involves holding someone against their will. It is also a crime under the California Penal...
The Statute of Limitations for Arrest Warrants
Most people are familiar with the legal idea of a statute of limitations, which states that you can no longer be tried...
Statute of Limitations for Traffic Violations in Alabama
A statute of limitations will not prevent Alabama from collecting the amount an individual owes on a traffic ticket. Because a law...
How to File a False Arrest Lawsuit
A false arrest occurs when a person is detained by law enforcement officials for invalid reasons. In some cases, a false arrest...
The Statute of Limitations on Arrest Warrants in Texas
An arrest warrant issues when the defendant fails to appear in court. While a statute of limitations applies in Texas to the...
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for wrongful death varies in each state, but all states have a statute of...
The Statute of Limitations on Failure to Appear
The statute of limitations defines the maximum time limit within which a legal suit or legal charges can be brought. Statute of...
Statute of Limitations on the False Claims Act
Title 31, Section 3729 of the United States Code is known as the False Claims Act. That Act prescribes civil penalties for...