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Can you sue for False Arrest for a Dismissed Violation of Protection Order in Alabama?

Alabaster, AL |

I was arrested on Easter Sunday (April 20th, 2014) by the Alabaster Police Department for violation of a Protection Order that had been dismissed April 11th, 2014. After being arrested at my house in front of my kids. I was taken to the Shelby County Jail and had to post a $800 Bond. I went to speak with the Judge that dismissed the case and talked with his secretary. She pulled up the records and realized that there was a mistake made. Her exact words were Mr. ***** sorry but we dropped the ball on this one because it was never put in. I ask about me getting my Bond money back and she said they had nothing to do with that. I ask who can I speak with to get my money back. Her exact words were you probably need to talk to an attorney. I have no idea what kind of attorney I need to talk with

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Attorney answers 2


You can sue under 42 U.S.C for violations of your constitutional rights, including false arrest and imprisonment. However, judges have absolute immunity for their actions within the scope of their employment. So, it depends on who made the mistake. Law enforcement officers have a more limited, "qualified" immunity.



It's definitely not the Judge. Its the clerks office or secretary. I have absolutely no issue with the police. Thanks so much for your help. It helps me know what direction to go. I am sure I will need an attorney but can't afford one. Do attorneys accept a payment for filing and a percentage of the settlement? Are am I going to have to invest $5,000 to file it and go to court with a representative.

Randall Blake Tolley

Randall Blake Tolley


Most civil rights lawyers accept cases on a contingency, with payment for the filing fees and any other costs.


If you violated the Protection Order before it was dismissed you would not have a valid claim. However, based on the way you asked the question, I assume the violation itself (not the arrest) occurred after it was dismissed. If that is so then because there was no legal basis for your arrest, you would have the right to sue for violation of your rights. However, whether the suit is successful depends largely on the reason why you were arrested. If the "victim" made a complaint knowing the PFA had been dismissed you could sue her for malicious prosecution. If it is due to a "clerical" error then you may have a hard time winning the case because government officials have "immunity" under Alabama law. They cannot be sued for mistakes they make while acting within the scope of their employment. You would only be successful if you could prove it was done maliciously, etc. which is hard to do.

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