police report mistakes and wrongful arrests

Wrongful Arrests Due to Police Report Mistakes

Wrongful arrests because of mistakes made in the police report are more common than most people would like to think. After all, police officers are only human, and the stress and rigors of their job can sometimes lead to serious mistakes and wrongful arrests.

Unfortunately, a seemingly simple mistake by a police officer can result in an innocent person landing behind bars. If you believe you or someone you love may have been wrongfully arrested, it’s time to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney in Alabama.

What is a Wrongful Arrest?

An arrest in which a person is wrongfully charged and detained by the police because of an error or without proper legal authority is termed a wrongful arrest. The Fourth Amendment guarantees an American citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. It prohibits a person from being arrested without probable cause or a lawfully issued warrant.

The law also limits the police from entering private property without the owner’s permission. It is important to understand that a wrongful arrest is an abuse of power. A seemingly innocuous mistake in the police report that led to your arrest may entitle you to file a lawsuit and seek damages.

Types of Wrongful Arrest Due to Police Report Errors

  • Arresting the wrong person.
  • Arresting someone without probable cause of that person committing the crime.
  • Arresting a suspect without reading them their Miranda Rights.
  • Arresting without just cause.
  • Arresting someone with an arrest warrant given by the police officer to the court, which contains false information.
  • Arrest for personal gain.
  • Arrest by incompetence.
  • Arrest based on pure malice.
  • Arrest based on race.

It’s best to consult with a dependable wrongful arrest attorney in Alabama to protect your legal rights and obtain justice if you were arrested because of an error made in the police report.

Common Mistakes Made by the Law Enforcement Officials in Alabama While Preparing a Police Report

Factual mistakes

Factual mistakes or inaccuracies in the police report are more common than most people realize. Police officers frequently record incorrect license plate numbers, incorrect times, names, addresses, license numbers, and other critical details required in a criminal case.

Your attorney can challenge the validity of the report along with the integrity of the police officer to get your charges dropped altogether or at least reduced. While the entire case may not get dismissed because of a minor factual error, such flaws do work in the defendant’s favor.

Leaving out investigation results

Another common error made by the police while reporting is leaving out vital pieces of information and details regarding the investigation. This includes the results. Several officers write detailed and thorough accounts of the investigation while failing to report the results. For instance, the police officer may write, “I searched the doorknob of the master bedroom for fingerprints” but miss out on writing whether any fingerprints were found or not.

Vagueness in the police report

Details are essential to a police report. It’s judicious to report every detail of an incident even though this can be a tedious task. Police reports should be thorough and comprehensive. It is not enough to write that a suspect is “uncooperative.” The police report needs to be detailed and mention something like, “the suspect avoided eye contact and refused to answer questions without having an attorney present.”


It’s illegal for the police to make assumptions while drawing up the police report. Just because a suspect demonstrates certain qualities aligning with a certain profile, doesn’t mean they fit that profile. Police officers cannot help exercise implicit bias. The officers may write statements like, “the suspect’s oversized and baggy clothing indicates a possible gang affiliation making them a suspect for the theft offense.”

Damages You Can Claim in a Wrongful Arrest Lawsuit

You may be able to file a lawsuit against the arresting officer if you were wrongfully arrested. You may also be able to sue the police department and the township for any missed work, bail amount, and mental distress or embarrassment.

There are several things that can be recovered through a wrongful arrest lawsuit. These include:

  • Damage to reputation
  • Lost wages
  • Physical harm incurred as a result of the wrongful arrest
  • Embarrassment
  • Any illness as a result of the wrongful arrest
  • False imprisonment
  • Wrongful conviction
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Excessive force
  • Wrongful death
  • Punitive damages

It’s essential to understand that by pleading guilty in court following a wrongful arrest automatically forfeits your ability to sue. This is even if it is later found that you were wrongfully arrested.

Wrongful arrests happen all too often and are difficult and unexpected. An accomplished criminal defense attorney can help you fix the mistake and clear your name.

Talk to a Skilled and Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you love has been wrongfully arrested, you require legal representation from the aggressive criminal defense attorneys at the Alsobrook Law Group. Our attorneys will fight relentlessly in order to prove wrongful arrest and have your charges dismissed.

We may also be able to file a civil lawsuit to obtain financial compensation on your behalf after you have been exonerated. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 334-737-3718 or fill out this online contact form.