Police impersonators still remain a problem in South Florida. On January 19, Miami Beach Police arrested 18-year-old Matthew Scheidt for impersonating a police officer. Apparently, Scheidt, acting as a law enforcement officer, pulled over a driver for not wearing a seat belt. However, one can picture the expression on the teen’s face when he became aware that the driver of the vehicle he pulled over was an actual undercover cop. Seemingly this is not the first time Schedit has run into trouble with the law because according to news sources, he was arrested last year for impersonating a physician’s assistant at the Osceola Regional Medical Center. Our FortLauderdale personal injury attorneys want our citizens to know that police impersonation is an increasing trend in South Florida, as well has across the nation.
Often when a person acts as a police officer or a government official they normally do not have good intentions. Usually it is to commit common crimes such as an assault, rape, robbery or kidnapping. Not only is impersonating a law enforcement officer a serious crime, but a person could also face civil liability if they also commit the intentional tort of false imprisonment. For example, when a person asserts legal authority and arrests a citizen without a legal privilege, he or she may have committed the tort of false imprisonment in addition to an underlying offense. False imprisonment is also a common law tort, which is classified as an intentional tort like assault and battery. When a person has been found civilly liable for this tort it is because the fact finder has found that by the preponderance of the evidence shown the individual acted with the intentions to confine another who was harmed by the confinement. Therefore, a false imprisonment occurs when a person has intended to invade the legally protected interest of another; the freedom of movement. Additionally, a confinement can be effected however short the time period.
Alternatively, our Fort Lauderdale false imprisonment lawyers want our readers to recognize the difference between false imprisonment and a false arrest. Although the terms are frequently used interchangeably, a false arrest occurs under circumstances as we have previously described above; when a defendant acts under the disguise of a legal authority and commits an arrest in which he or she is not authorized to do. Further, a false arrest can be a method of committing the tort of false imprisonment. For example, if law enforcement arrests you without any legal justification or probable cause, you could potentially sue under the false imprisonment doctrine. Similarly, a confinement has occurred when a person intentionally locks another in a basement without a reasonable means of escape. However, in order to prevail on this type of claim, there are four elements which you will have to prove in court, those being the following:
The alleged perpetrator must have intended to confine you,
You must have not given your consent to be confined, but, physical force against you or a member of your immediate family; or threats of imminent physical harm to you or an immediate family can be the basis of a confinement, also if you acted under duress,
You must have been aware of the confinement at the time you were confined, or harmed by it,
And no reasonable means of escape were available or known to you
If you or a member of your family were harmed in a Fort Lauderdale false imprisonment incident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the particulars of your case and learn what legal rights you have.
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