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My brother was detained by store security guard who thought he "may have shoplifed" Emphasis on the words "may have"

Orlando, FL |

(Arrest report even uses the wording "may have")

He was subsequently arrested with no investigation whatsoever. He had no merchandise on him nor will there be any video as he took nothing and has no record. He is as straight as an arrow and honest as they come, just looks guilty long hair etc etc

What can he expect and can he sue later for wrongful arrest? Will they make him take some kind of plea deal down the road to prevent him FROM suing later?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Your brother needs to hire a criminal defense attorney right away. It may mean the difference between getting charged by the State Attorneys Office, or having everything dropped. Feel free to call me or give him my cell number, 407-349-7474. My office offers a free initial consultation.


  2. The answer is: it really depends on what happens in the criminal case. Sometimes the way you resolve the criminal case can foul up recovery in any kind of civil suit. It sounds like your brother has some very strong defenses. Because of recent changes in leadership in the Orange County State Attorney's Office, this may be something that can be squelched in its infancy. I would definitely want to see the video and read the police report before I say any more. Feel free to have him give me a call at 407-205-9488 and we can discuss it, free of charge.

    For more information or to set up a free consultation contact the Witt Law at 407-205-WITT (9488). This answer does not, nor is it intended to, create an attorney-client relationship. It is offered for informational purposes only. Please consult with a licensed attorney before making any legal decisions.


  3. He needs an aggressive lawyer right away. You are right that he could lose any chance of a lawsuit if the criminal case isn't handled correctly. Feel free to call me and we can talk about it


  4. You need to prevail in criminal court before thinking about the riches of filing a civil suit. Was it Walmart? They seem to have become infamous for these things!


  5. When a private security guard detains someone without any basis and without witnessing a crime, they are subject to a civil action of false arrest.

    As indicated by the other attorneys, your brother first needs to make sure his criminal case gets dismissed, then he can evaluate his options against the private security. Right now it sounds like you assume this was a mistake / misunderstanding, but an attorney is going to have to evaluate the police report and any written statements in order to give your brother an accurate assessment of the case.

    Feel free to call my office or email me if you or your brother has any questions..


  6. If he had no goods on him and there is no video showing that he took anything, then I would not expect the Satte to prosecute a theft charge (Unless the video shows that he "attempted" to take/conceal property. In any event, I would suggest hiring a lawyer to defend any possible criminal case. Once that has been accomplished, then civil lawsuits may be considered.

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