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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    East Coast

    Default Can I Sue the Police for False Arrest and Imprisonment

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California.

    About 10 years ago I was falsely arrested and imprisoned for one night in Modesto, CA. The charges were completely false and concocted on the spot by police officers as I was walking on the sidewalk from a party. I was falsely accused of being under the influence of a "stimulant", & after the officer looked at my eyes and ID within 5 seconds of stopping me on a dark sidewalk, told me I was under arrest. After several pointless sobriety tests were administered; they asked me to close my eyes and count to 30, it took me 45 seconds, then I was told I was being arrested. The other officer took my pulse with leather gloves on while I sat handcuffed in the back of a patrol car after the arresting officer threatened to "bounce" me. Of course my pulse was racing (later at the station they took my pulse again and it was normal.) Without having my rights read to me, until after I had blood drawn at the hospital & after I was booked at the police station, I was taken away.

    The officer attempted to charge me with a felony & $10,000 bail even though the alleged crime was a misdemeanor and $1,000 bail. I was arrested around 1AM and released in the morning at about 10AM because I had a great lawyer. Right before they released me, they decided to take my mug shot (after I'd been up all night in a holding cell, and it's actually a pretty good picture!)

    4 weeks after my false arrest, the DA dropped the charges, presumably due to my blood test showing negative for all tested drugs.

    6 months later, I filed a complaint to the police department over the telephone while residing in another state.

    My question is: 10 years later, can I sue the police department and officers in California for the false arrest and false imprisonment?

    Can I also force them to expunge the records and permanently destroy my mug shot (since both were produced, essentially due to crimes committed against me and a violation of my civil rights)?


    There was nothing illegal in my possession and I'm wondering if the incompetence of the officers would come into play in a wrongful/false arrest lawsuit.

    Also, I had never been arrested before this and never have been afterward.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can I Sue the Police for Being Falsely Arrested and Imprisoned in California

    Can you sue ten years later? Nope. You've let the statute of limitations run.

    The law for expunging arrest records is provided in this thread.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Can I Sue the Police for False Arrest and Imprisonment

    Even if it had been less than 10 years you probably would not get anywhere with it. There does not need to be proof that you were violating the law for the officers to arrest you, just probable cause. The DA dropping the charge means nothing about the arrest being bad, it just means the state did not want to keep going with the charges. Cases get dropped many, many times a day for any number of reasons.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Rhode Island

    Default Re: Can I Sue the Police for False Arrest and Imprisonment

    Probable Cause: Facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe that a crime has been committed. There must be some element or provability, for a threshold of PC. Circumstances alone are sometimes considered evidence. You cannot make an arrest because you "probably think" he did it.

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