Stafford, VA asked in Civil Rights for Virginia

Q: I was wondering can I sue a county for wrongful arrest?

I was arrested and detained on a warrant for a case that was already finalized I don’t blame the officers but I do blame the county for not removing the warrant am I able to seek legal action for their mistake

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1 Lawyer Answer
Timothy R Johnson
Timothy R Johnson
  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Berryville, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: I don't believe you have a case.

1. Unless you have facts that can establish that certain county officials intentionally maintained an arrest warrant against you, knowing there was no basis for doing so, they are going to be protected by sovereign immunity, as well as general principles of civil rights laws requiring a heightened standard that the government official acted way outside of line of their duties.

2. Even if you could establish what I said in point 1 above, a detention and arrest without anymore injury is generally such a minimal damage that most attorneys would take on the case, and it is probably not worth pursuing in the long-run to you as the amount of time engaging in pursuing the case (ex: discovery such as depositions; attending hearings; attending possible trial; etc.) will outweigh almost any kind of award you would get if you won.

3. You need to have filed a notice of claim against the county within 6 months of the arrest if you intend to maintain any state-based claims.

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