By Carlos Gamino

Unfortunately, police arrest the wrong people every day – but even worse, sometimes police detain someone when they have no legal authority to do so. Law enforcement officers can’t just go around arresting anyone they want; they must have a warrant or probable cause to legally arrest someone. So what can you do if you’ve been wrongfully detained by the police? What if your arrest is lawful at first, but then becomes unlawful? This guide explains.

What if You’re Wrongfully Detained by Police?

If you’re detained by the police, it’s important that you cooperate as best you can. That’s true even if you are completely innocent and the police are unlawfully detaining you. The first thing you should do is let the police know you’d like to speak to an attorney. Then, make the call to a lawyer who can come to your location to help preserve your rights.

Related: What if there’s a warrant out for your arrest in Milwaukee?

What is False Arrest?

A false arrest is restraining someone without a legal reason to do so. For example, if a police officer detains you for no reason and tells you that you cannot leave but has no legal justification for withholding your freedom, it’s a false arrest. (It’s important to note that a police officer may have a reason for detaining you and has not shared that reason with you, though.)

What if an Arrest Starts Out Lawful but Becomes Unlawful?

Sometimes an arrest starts out as lawful and becomes unlawful. For example, if a police officer pulls you over because your headlight is out, writes you a ticket, and then tells you that you cannot leave the scene until a drug dog arrives without probable cause to believe that you have drugs in your vehicle, the arrest has become unlawful.

Unfortunately, that puts you in a bad position. You must still cooperate with the police officer, but you need to let the officer know that you want to speak to an attorney immediately.

Related: 3 common myths about arrests most people believe

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Being Accused of a Crime?

If you’ve been accused of any type of crime, whether or not your arrest was lawful or unlawful, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 or schedule your free consultation online now. You are entitled to legal representation, and we may be able to give you the advice you need to get the best possible outcome in your case.

Attorney Carlos Gamino