We Hold Them Accountable

Were You Detained Against Your Will And Without Probable Cause?

False imprisonment does not mean you were wrongly sent to prison. False imprisonment is a civil action against law enforcement personnel, private security staff or other parties for unlawfully or forcefully detaining a person.

If you believe you were wrongfully detained and are suffering physical injury, psychological trauma or loss of reputation as a result, you may have grounds to sue for false imprisonment. Chicago civil rights attorney Christopher R. Smith knows how to hold law enforcement agencies and other entities accountable for the abuse of power.

What Is False Imprisonment?

Police can only go so far if they are investigating a crime. They can ask you questions, but you are not under obligation to answer. They can arrest you if they have reasonable suspicion that you broke the law, but they cannot forcefully detain you or hold you indefinitely because you might have committed a crime. If you are not under arrest, you are free to go. Security personnel have even less authority to detain a person unless they are holding a person for a short term until police arrive.

False imprisonment is not the same thing as a false arrest or wrongful arrest. False imprisonment involves forcefully restraining or preventing a person from leaving, in violation of their civil rights. False arrest is more about a lack of probable cause or authority to detain the person in the first place. Often an innocent person is subjected to both.

Do I Have A Case For False Imprisonment?

These cases are fact-specific, and you need to be represented by an experienced civil rights lawyer to hold a government entity or private entity accountable for false imprisonment. To bring a lawsuit, we need to show that your rights were violated and that you suffered tangible harm as a result of your wrongful detention.

Examples of an actionable false imprisonment might include:

  • Police rounding up and handcuffing everyone at a protest
  • A security guard holding a suspected shoplifter in a back room for hours
  • A night club bouncer who subdues an innocent bystander
  • An officer making a person sit in a squad car until they confess
  • Law enforcement using excessive force or excessive restraints that cause injury
  • Officials holding the person in cramped or inhumane conditions
  • Officers accosting a person merely because they “fit the description”
  • Police leading a citizen to believe they are under arrest when they are not
  • Anyone making a “citizen’s arrest” with no direct evidence or reasonable suspicion
  • Law enforcement holding a suspect in jail for longer than the law allows without filing charges

False imprisonment is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, including depriving a person of their liberty.

We Hold Them Accountable

Our team at Christopher Smith Trial Group has a proven track record, with more than 100 verdicts and settlements for police misconduct and civil rights violations. Your best shot at justice is with an experienced false imprisonment lawyer who knows the law and how to hold law enforcement, government entities and private companies responsible.

If you believe you were deprived of your rights when you were wrongfully detained, contact our Chicago law office today. Call 312-432-0400 or use our email form.