Even worse than getting arrested, is getting arrested without committing a crime. However, for many individuals in Southern California, this nightmare is a daily reality.

Most of us would like to think that by following the law, we stay safe and protect ourselves from injustice. However, whether through a misunderstanding, unfortunate similarities in your facial features to a real criminal, or a freak accident, you may find yourself behind bars.

How does this happen? And how common is this type of arrest in Southern California? Unfortunately, it’s more commonplace than you’d think. In this article, learn the details of the unlawful arrest, how it happens and what you can do if you or a loved one face this situation.

What is an Unlawful Arrest?

When the police arrest an individual without sufficient evidence, it’s considered an unlawful arrest. There are many reasons a police officer may choose to arrest someone. A lot of times, the police may have information about a warrant, knowledge from an informant, or other influences that cause them to act. However, this doesn’t mean they always make the best choices.

How Common are Unlawful Arrests in Southern California?

Here in California, some surprising statistics show that unlawful arrests are relatively common. One study by Human Rights Watch revealed that between 2011 and 2015, 1.5 police made million felony arrests in the state. Of these, one in three of the arrestees were never found guilty. Now, this doesn’t mean that all of those arrests were unlawful, but it’s probable that a portion of them were indeed illegal.

Some counties are more famous than others for their unlawful arrest rates. Along with the rate of illegal arrests comes a high cost. In just six counties, Alameda, Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, and San Francisco, the state spent over $37.5 million in jail costs for people who never received charges or who had their case or charges dropped. This means that there wasn’t enough evidence in these cases to even make a trial, yet the arrests occurred.

Innocent people also receive charges for severe crimes in Southern California. A report showed that since 1989, over 200 people were falsely accused of murder, rape and other serious offenses. With relation to Southern California, Orange County, San Diego, and L.A. were among the worst counties for wrongful convictions in a 2004 study.

What to Do When Facing Unlawful Arrest

In the face of an unlawful arrest, you feel hopeless and frustrated. But, with the right tools and support, you can fight back.

The first thing you should do if police wrongfully arrest you is to make bail. If you don’t have the savings to do so, contact a trusted bail bondsman such as Herbert Bail Bonds to help you get out of jail. In California, most felony charges are subject to bail, which means it’s likely that you can get out of prison and back where you belong. This is a crucial step in recovering your life and proving your innocence.

Why? Outside of prison, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also have better access to legal support and resources to prepare for your court appearance. Inside prison, while you have a right to see your lawyer, you won’t have the same access. On the outside, you’ll also be able to help gather evidence, identify witnesses and engage more in the preparation of your defense. You can even attend programs and take action that will prove your innocence to the courts. Also, you’ll be able to continue working and fulfilling your financial responsibilities.

Finding good legal counsel is priority one. Next, you’ll want to make sure you file a claim for false arrest and imprisonment with the police department. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with details on this vital step. However, do know that you must file within six months to have the right to sue. If you fail to do this, you’ll lose this valuable right.

Unfortunately, unlawful arrests in Southern California are somewhat common despite the good intentions an officer may have. An illegal arrest is a difficult situation for anyone to face. However, it doesn’t have to define you and the rest of your life. Work proactively to get the help and support you need so that you can close this unpleasant chapter in your life. With the help of a great bondsman at Herbert Bail Bonds, the comfort of your family, and advice of sound legal counsel, you’ll be able to put all of this behind you.