It’s one of the biggest contradictions in law enforcement but it happens on a regular basis. Police officers arrest innocent people simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This can easily happen if you are near a crime scene, or match the description of a suspected criminal. Often, police are executing a search warrant and, despite their best efforts, target the wrong person. However, in 2017, Michigan introduced House Bill 4702. If passed, the bill will eliminate arrest records for those arrested for "mistaken identity or identity theft."
An improper arrest can lead to serious, lasting consequences for an innocent person, so it’s imperative to hire an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney to help repair the damage.
What to do if you're wrongfully arrested
If you are wrongly arrested, it’s important to know how to handle yourself so that the situation does not get worse. First off, do not panic or interfere when police arrest you. Remain calm and respectful. Police are just doing their job. They believe they have probable cause to arrest you and they must act on that belief.
Do try to make observations about the area where you are arrested. Try to remember who is there, who may be a witness, and what you saw prior to your arrest. This information may be crucial in helping clear you of any charges.
If you argue with police or physically try to leave, you may be charged with resisting arrest. In particular, do not run away – that alone can give police probable cause to arrest you, depending on the circumstances.
Michigan law Section 750.81d defines resisting arrest as a felony offense with penalties that can include jail time and fines. If your behavior causes bodily injury to an officer, the penalties are even worse. Additionally, if you try to stick up for a friend who is being arrested, you may be charged with interfering with another person’s arrest. Either way, your situation becomes much more serious.
It may be easier to stay cooperative if you understand that your arrest triggers your legal rights. Once arrested, you have the right to make a telephone call for help, request medical care if you are injured, get a court-appointed lawyer if needed, and of course, remain silent during any police interviews.
Remember, the arresting officer must inform you what your charges are and explain them if you ask. Also, if you are arrested because of a warrant, they must tell you that and show you the warrant if you ask to see it.
It’s important to obtain expert legal advice as soon as you can so that you are not held on bail after arraignment. Being held may lead to a loss of a job, media coverage and embarrassment to you and your family. In addition, once you are arraigned, you will have a criminal record, even if the charges are dismissed. Attorney Michael P. Manley knows how to get your record expunged and fight to defend your legal rights, so it’s critical to consult with him as soon as possible.