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I have proved my factual innocence under CA PC851.8, a felony for which I was arrested. Can I recover damages from the state?

San Jose, CA |

I was arrested under a crafted felony charge ( including blatant lies on the police report). The DA dismissed that charge but 4 days( while I was in custody) later filed misdemeanor charges, of which I was found not guilty and acquitted.

I petitioned the court for a finding of factual innocence under PC 851.8. The petition was granted after an appeal for the original felony charge, but not for the misdemeanor charge. The justification was that these two were separate events.

The statue of limitation has expired for false arrest( 1 year in CA). Is it possible to recover damages under some other cause of action?

Actually, I was declared "factually innocent" for a charge I was arrested for. Under PC 851.8 Factual innocence means that there was no reasonable cause for the arrest and the arrest was illegal. In my case there was no probable cause even when the arrest was made, the arrest was illegal right from the beginning.

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Attorney answers 2


Because your were found not guilty of the charges, that alone does not support a cause of action against the government. Contact a CA lawyer right away. If the deadline has passed on false arrest, you may be told that all potential relief is now barred because of statute of limitations expiration.

Check with a lawyer in your locale to discuss more of the details.

Good luck to you.

God bless.

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For your information, you have mistated the law. A finding of factual innocence does NOT prove that the police never had probable cause to arrest you. It is a common misconception among client, lawyers, prosecutors and even judges. It is quite possible for a cop to have probable cause to arrest you, and then later new evidence is discovered or produced in court about which the officer knew nothing, and then you are proved innocent. Hence, it can be a situation where both you and the arresting officer were right.

Example: a citizen standing on the sidewalk down the street from a bank identifies a man in green troussers as a bank robber, saying he saw him do it. The officer then has probable cause to arrest the man. However, it turns out that this was a SECOND man in green pants and the witness made a mistake. The arrested man was in fact being written up half a mile away by a cop for speeding at the time of the robbery. Result: the cop had probable cause to arrest him, but he was factually innocent.

In addition, the court order finding you factually innocent is NOT admissible in court in your contemplated law suit against the state. Check P.C. Sec. 851.8 itself, which says it is not.

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