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Arrested on a false warrant due to a court error.

Charlestown, IN |

I was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear because I was sent two court summons for a OWI arrest, each in a different city. I went to one because an office had told me that sometimes city courts get over loaded and send your case to another court and had a plea completion and never thought about the other. After 11 months went by I was served the warrant because the courts didn't communicate this error and had to spend the night in jail, lost a days pay from work, and almost lost my job. Can I sue the courts for wrongful imprisonment and false arrest??

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Attorney answers 1


I do not practice in IN. But because no one has answered your questions yet and your inquiries are general in nature, I will try to help.

First, I am not certain this was a false warrant. You were summoned to appear in court; and you did not. If there was a mistake, you had a responsibility to contact the court and clear up any errors before the court date. You did not do this. You chose to ignore the summons.

Moreover, the warrant may have been the product of a clerical error. This is not necessarily false, as false implies an intentional lie/act.

Assuming arguendo that the warrant was "false," I doubt you can sue for imprisonment or false arrest. You should, however, discuss these issues further with a civil attorney. Be aware that government entities enjoy all sorts of immunities that may apply in your case and either limit, or eliminate your ability to collect a money judgment.

Again, for more specific advice, you need to speak with a civil attorney. I suggest you repost this in the civil law forum, as this is a forum for criminal defense attorneys. We defend you from criminal charges. We don't generally sue the government.

Good luck!