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Wrongful detention

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Updated: 4/13/2007 6:36 pm
The law protects citizens who are wrongfully deprived of their liberty by another. If you have been the subject of an improper detention by another or an arrest by the police or other state or federal official, and if it took place without probable cause, in bad faith, or if it illegally deprived you of your liberty, you may be able to file a lawsuit and recover damages. The police have probable cause only when there are enough facts to lead a reasonable person to conclude that you are committing or have committed a crime. This is a considerably higher standard than the mere 'suspicion' an officer needs in order to stop you briefly to investigate possible criminal activity. A possible case of wrongful detention might involve store personnel who generally have the right to detain a person they suspect of shoplifting. However,the investigation must take place in a reasonable amount of time, and the store personnel can't look in the person's bag without permission unless they actually saw the person steal an item, or the item is in plain view. If this is not the case, the store would either have to call the police to investigate or let the person go, otherwise it may be considered wrongful detention. For more information on wrongful detention, talk with an attorney.
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