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  1. #1
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    Nov 2012
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    Unhappy Arrested and Detained on Warrants, but Charges Were Dismissed - Can I Sue

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: South Carolina

    I was arrested 3 years ago, in August of 2009. I was stopped for not wearing my seat belt. The officer then said he had warrants for my arrest from another county I never lived in, and hadn't visited since I played basketball in middle school. The warrants were from 2007 and 2008. I was arrested and detained for something I had absolutely nothing to do with, but they had 6 warrants with my name, DL#, my picture, address (a previous one, not the current one at the time), and my social security number.

    To make a long story short, I spent a total of 6 days/5 nights in jail for some warrants that had my information, but I wasn't the man they were looking for. They claimed they had me on video, but when they looked at the video, they realized I wasn't the person, and they released me on a PR bond. And shortly after that, in October of 2009, I received an expungement letter.

    My question is, Can I still file a lawsuit? I initially didn't want to file a lawsuit, and was just happy to be free from jail, because I had prayer and bible study with some of the inmates; I tried to take the high road. However, given the potential job at Becton Dickinson that I didn't get in 2009, that I felt was due to my arrest, and the fact that it's 3 years later, and I am still nervous when I drive by a cop, or in the presence of a cop, and the fact that my soon-to-be wife's family thinks that I am a criminal because I was arrested, and is against me marrying my fiance', I really want to file a lawsuit now. Can I do it?

  2. #2
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    Jul 2010
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    7,645

    Default Re: Can I Sue After Being Mistakenly Arrested and Jailed 3 Years Ago

    Who is it you wish to sue? The police acted in good faith when they arrested you based on the warrants. What were the warrants for?

  3. #3
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Can I Sue After Being Mistakenly Arrested and Jailed 3 Years Ago

    I want to sue the county that issued the warrants, and caused me to be arrested in the first place. They were 3 warrants for Distribution of Crack and Cocaine, and 3 warrants for Distribution of Crack and Cocaine in a school zone.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can I Sue After Being Mistakenly Arrested and Jailed 3 Years Ago

    What do you believe they did wrong?

  5. #5
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    Nov 2012
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    Default Re: Can I Sue After Being Mistakenly Arrested and Jailed 3 Years Ago

    I was arrested, falsely accused, and spent time in jail for something I had absolutely nothing to do with. They issued warrants on me, based on a "supposed" informant, and said they had me on video. However, when they finally decided to look at the video, (after several calls protesting my innocence), they realized I wasn't the person on video... Then they released me. Then the officer who wrote the warrants, no longer even worked for that county. I have no criminal record, and previously had never been arrested. Now I have my fingerprints on file, and a mug shot. I was just a college student, and I had to spend a week in jail, right before my new semester started. And to make matters worse, I had just been laid off from my job, 2 weeks prior.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2012
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    1

    Default Re: Can I Sue After Being Mistakenly Arrested and Jailed 3 Years Ago

    You'd like to talk to legal professionals. To get cheered up, you'd like to begin with a local law library. Also, reading Arrest-Proof Yourself by Carson and Denham if you desperately want to feel a little easier and less lonely in this journey. I am sorry about what happened.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can I Sue After Being Mistakenly Arrested and Jailed 3 Years Ago

    Quote Quoting whitejm
    View Post
    I was arrested, falsely accused, and spent time in jail for something I had absolutely nothing to do with. They issued warrants on me, based on a "supposed" informant, and said they had me on video. However, when they finally decided to look at the video, (after several calls protesting my innocence), they realized I wasn't the person on video...
    Regrettably, mistakes happen.
    Quote Quoting whitejm
    Then they released me.
    Had they cleared you and not released you, you would have a much better case.
    Quote Quoting whitejm
    Then the officer who wrote the warrants, no longer even worked for that county.
    The officer may have applied for warrants, but it was a judge or magistrate who issued the warrants. Lots of people change jobs or retire.
    Quote Quoting whitejm
    I have no criminal record, and previously had never been arrested. Now I have my fingerprints on file, and a mug shot.
    "Pursuant to South Carolina Code of Laws 17-1-40, the arrest and booking record, files, mug shots, and fingerprints of any person, who after being charged with a criminal offense and such charge is discharged or proceedings against such person dismissed or is found to be innocent of such charge, shall be destroyed and no evidence of such record pertaining to such charge shall be retained by any municipal, county or State law enforcement agency." Are you certain that didn't happen and if not, why not?
    Quote Quoting whitejm
    I was just a college student, and I had to spend a week in jail, right before my new semester started. And to make matters worse, I had just been laid off from my job, 2 weeks prior.
    The bright side would be that you didn't lose a job due to your incarceration, and you also didn't miss school. I've seen people lose jobs, houses, cars, marriages, and semesters of school over criminal charges that ended with acquittal. You don't have to count yourself as lucky, but it can be a lot worse.

    You appear to be stating that between an informant saying "whitejm committed the crime," and a video of a guy who looked a lot like you, the police sought and obtained an arrest warrant by satisfying the court that issued the warrant that there was probable cause for your arrest and then, confronted with your protestations of innocence, investigated further, determined that it was a case of mistaken identity and moved pretty quickly to dismiss the charges and release you. By all means, consult some local lawyers, but I'm not seeing a viable case in that.

  8. #8
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    Dec 2012
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    17

    Default Re: Arrested and Detained on Warrants, but Charges Were Dismissed - Can I Sue

    Quote Quoting whitejm
    View Post
    My question involves criminal law for the state of: South Carolina

    I was arrested 3 years ago, in August of 2009. I was stopped for not wearing my seat belt. The officer then said he had warrants for my arrest from another county I never lived in, and hadn't visited since I played basketball in middle school. The warrants were from 2007 and 2008. I was arrested and detained for something I had absolutely nothing to do with, but they had 6 warrants with my name, DL#, my picture, address (a previous one, not the current one at the time), and my social security number.

    To make a long story short, I spent a total of 6 days/5 nights in jail for some warrants that had my information, but I wasn't the man they were looking for. They claimed they had me on video, but when they looked at the video, they realized I wasn't the person, and they released me on a PR bond. And shortly after that, in October of 2009, I received an expungement letter.

    My question is, Can I still file a lawsuit? I initially didn't want to file a lawsuit, and was just happy to be free from jail, because I had prayer and bible study with some of the inmates; I tried to take the high road. However, given the potential job at Becton Dickinson that I didn't get in 2009, that I felt was due to my arrest, and the fact that it's 3 years later, and I am still nervous when I drive by a cop, or in the presence of a cop, and the fact that my soon-to-be wife's family thinks that I am a criminal because I was arrested, and is against me marrying my fiance', I really want to file a lawsuit now. Can I do it?
    So are you saying that you were the victim of identity theft or that the issuing Court erred? Did some unknown person commit criminal acts assuming your personal DL#, picture, address and SSN?

    And for such time, did you ever receive a court notices at your address? Did law enforcement/FBI/DEA ever show up at your residence?

    How was it proven that you were not the criminal in question, and that these charges were seriously misdirected due to identity theft?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    15,616

    Default Re: Arrested and Detained on Warrants, but Charges Were Dismissed - Can I Sue

    Quote Quoting WarrenK
    View Post
    So are you saying that you were the victim of identity theft or that the issuing Court erred? Did some unknown person commit criminal acts assuming your personal DL#, picture, address and SSN?

    And for such time, did you ever receive a court notices at your address? Did law enforcement/FBI/DEA ever show up at your residence?

    How was it proven that you were not the criminal in question, and that these charges were seriously misdirected due to identity theft?
    I believe he already explained that. They had video of the actual criminal and determined that the video did not show the OP.

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