California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

1405. False Arrest With Warrant—Essential Factual Elements

[Name of plaintiff] claims that [he/she] was wrongfully arrested by [name of defendant]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:

1. [That [name of defendant] arrested [name of plaintiff];]


[That [name of defendant] intentionally caused [name of plaintiff] to be wrongfully arrested;]

2. That [insert facts supporting the invalidity of the warrant or the unlawfulness of the arrest, e.g., “the warrant for [name of plaintiff]’s arrest had expired”];

3. That [name of plaintiff] was [actually] harmed; and

4. That [name of defendant]’s conduct was a substantial factor in causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.

New September 2003; Revised December 2011

Directions for Use

CACI No. 1406, False Arrest With Warrant—Peace Offıcer—Affırmative Defense—“Good-Faith” Exception, should be given after this instruction if that defense is asserted.

If the plaintiff is seeking nominal damages as an alternative to actual damages, insert the following paragraph above element 3:

If you find both of the above, then the law assumes that [name of plaintiff] has been harmed and [he/she] is entitled to a nominal sum such as one dollar. [Name of plaintiff] is also entitled to additional damages if [he/she] proves the following:

The second sentence of the above paragraph, along with the final two elements of this instruction, should be omitted if plaintiff is seeking nominal damages only. Read “actually” in the third element only if nominal damages are also being sought.

Sources and Authority

  • Penal Code section 834 provides: “An arrest is taking a person into custody, in a case and in the manner authorized by law. An arrest may be made by a peace officer or by a private person.”
  • Government Code section 820.4 provides: “A public employee is not liable for his act or omission, exercising due care, in the execution or enforcement of any law. Nothing in this section exonerates a public employee from liability for false arrest or false imprisonment.”
  • “ ‘[F]alse arrest’ and ‘false imprisonment’ are not separate torts. False arrest is but one way of committing a false imprisonment, and they are distinguishable only in terminology.” (Collins v. City and County of San Francisco (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 671, 673 [123 Cal.Rptr. 525].)
  • “ ‘The action for false imprisonment is frequently alleged to have been committed by reason of some wrongful arrest under some pretended or void order of some court, in which class of false imprisonment cases it is incumbent on the plaintiff to allege facts showing or tending to show that such arrest, under such court procedure, was wrongful, unauthorized and without any probable cause; …’ ” (Peters v. Bigelow (1934) 137 Cal.App. 135, 139 [30 P.2d 450].)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 441—443

3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 42, False Imprisonment and False Arrest, § 42.25 (Matthew Bender)

22 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 257, False Imprisonment, § 257.20 (Matthew Bender)

10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 103, False Imprisonment, § 103.77 et seq. (Matthew Bender)

1 California Civil Practice: Torts §§ 13:26—13:30 (Thomson Reuters West)