What is unlawful arrest?

Updated March 23, 2017

A police officer has a duty to protect the people in the community in which he serves. Falsely accusing an individual or conducting an unlawful arrest is not a part of a police officer's job description and he can be sued by the individual he arrests, as well as face disciplinary action from the police force.


An unlawful arrest is also identified as a false arrest, illegal detainment, improper arrest, illegal confinement, wrong capture or improper seizure.

Probable Cause

Only probable cause should be used to make an arrest of a specific individual, when an officer has factual circumstances to rely on. Police officers who rely on hunches and profiling are at risk of making an unlawful arrest.


An individual who does not show respect to an officer or is argumentative cannot be arrested for this type of behaviour.

Time Frame

Restraining an individual in police custody for any amount of time without proper legal authority is unlawful.

Resisting an Unlawful Arrest

According to (Plummer vs. State, 136 Ind. 306), a citizen has the right to resist an unlawful arrest to the point of taking an officer's life if necessary.

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About the Author

Mona Johnson is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, with a degree in communications. She began writing in 2001 and producing literary works in 2003 for T.A.D.D. Writes Publications. Johnson has experience with writing articles and blogs geared towards facts, keywords, fashion and other subjects.