I hear a lot of stories that make me sad and some that piss me off. There are a lot of people who contact me looking to get a lawyer referral who have gotten a raw deal by the justice system and want to sue over it.
In the last year or so I’ve had a ton of calls from people who want to sue for a wrongful arrest. Unfortunately most of these cases go nowhere.
To get arrested in Illinois and charged with a crime there just needs to be probable cause. That can be as simple as some random person saying they saw you rob a store or that you hit them. It’s a really low threshold. And as a result innocent people get arrested all of the time in Illinois.
To convict you the State has to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That is of course a much higher burden and allows some guilty people to go free so more innocent people won’t get convicted.
The problem is that if you are charged with a crime and can’t post bail, you can sit in prison for a long time. That of course prevents you from working, being with your family and having any life. It’s also very dangerous and can harm your health. Even if you can post bail, being arrested can damage relationships and ruin your reputation.
So of course when you beat the charges whether winning at a trial or getting a good attorney who can get them dismissed, it’s natural that you’d want to sue. Unfortunately it’s usually not a good case.
The people you could theoretically sue are the police and State’s Attorney. But if they have probable cause to bring charges, that is usually enough for them to avoid any liability for a lawsuit even if you think it should be obvious that you had nothing to do with the crime.
It’s typically only cases where you can prove a cop planted evidence or that the State’s Attorney hid evidence that would show you are innocent or something like that which would lead to a case. For example, in one case a guy was dating the ex-girlfriend of a police officer. That officer was jealous and planted evidence on him to make him look guilty. It was the intentional falsifying of the report that allowed there to be a case.
The better cases are the ones you wouldn’t want anything to do with and those are when people spend years or decades in jail after being wrongfully convicted. Usually those cases are winners because DNA evidence shows that the police must have been lying about what they said happened and spending years in jail is a clear harm.
Either way, we are happy to talk to you for free if you think you might have a case or just want to know if you do. We don’t promise a result, but do promise to always tell you the truth.