Law enforcement is a challenging, dangerous job involving considerable discretion that officers must exercise on the spot. Sometimes arrest and charging decisions can veer into questionable areas, and that's exactly when you need an experienced attorney involved in your case.
Take, for example, the federal civil rights violation charge against Brian Buglio, a police chief with the West Hazleton Police Department in Pennsylvania. The story began when Paul Delorenzo made posts on social media that were critical of Buglio. Delorenzo later reported to federal authorities that Buglio had called him and left a voicemail in which he threatened to arrest Delorenzo for a false crime.
Federal prosecutors charged Buglio with a civil rights violation for the threat, and Buglio pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, for which he faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
If this charge seems excessive to you, but you also feel you wouldn't be susceptible to similar ones, you should know that trumped-up charges can appear in other ways as well, such as false arrests and malicious prosecution. And if you feel you are being treated unfairly, the time to get legal counsel is now.
The Law of Arrests
In Pennsylvania, police must have probable cause to make an arrest or otherwise detain someone against their will. Police don't have to be certain that a crime occurred, but they do need to have a reasonable basis or evidence to believe a crime has been committed and that the person they have arrested is connected with that crime. Probable cause, in other words, is more than just a hunch or suspicion.
If you believe you've been arrested without probable cause, the arrest could be invalid and constitute false imprisonment by the state. A judge is the person who decides whether an arrest is valid, and having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side could mean the difference between filed charges and being let free.
Beyond false imprisonment lies the concept of malicious prosecution. The concept of probable cause also applies when it comes time for prosecutors to file charges against an individual. That is, a prosecutor must have sufficient evidence against someone to charge them with a crime.
If a prosecutor files charges without sufficient evidence and the charges are eventually dismissed, you may have a valid claim of malicious prosecution against the prosecutor.
If you feel like you have been arrested on trumped-up charges or that an arrest or charge occurred out of reasons other than a belief that a crime has been committed, the best thing you can do is get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side immediately to fight for your rights. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team can help, having defended countless clients charged with criminal offenses throughout Pennsylvania and beyond, and also having sought justice on behalf of clients in civil rights and police brutality cases across the United States. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-8636 today to discuss your case.