Police misconduct has been an issue on many people’s minds for years. Yet when people think of police misconduct, they often imagine police officers physically injuring another person.
The truth is that for misconduct to be perpetrated by police, no one needs to get hurt physically. False arrest is a police misconduct charge and often doesn’t include any physical injuries to the victim. Simply claiming that you get treated unlawfully and unfairly arrested violates your rights.
What is a false arrest, and what can you do if you suspect you are a victim in New York?
False Arrest: What Is It?
In normal circumstances, it is unlawful for police to arrest a person, seize property that they believe is involved in a crime, or search a person or their property without probable cause. If they have probable cause, then they can make an arrest or take any of the other actions mentioned.
Probable cause is the idea of the knowledge a police officer has of the circumstances and facts of a case. Probable cause would make any reasonable person understand that a crime has been or will get committed. This idea is not something that simply comes from an officer’s hunch or suspicion but from facts that would lead any reasonable person to believe that a person has committed a crime, has evidence of a crime, or is evidence of a crime.
Without probable cause, a case simply falls apart – and the actions taken by the officer become unlawful.
Probable Cause: What If It’s Lacking?
In most circumstances, the police can legally deprive a person of their freedom of movement. When they arrest someone without sufficient probable cause or who they know to be innocent of a crime, that can place them in jeopardy of being liable for false arrest. Anyone deprived of their liberty due to a false arrest is often wrongfully detained.
Suppose you get arrested under false circumstances without probable cause. In that case, you can file a lawsuit against the officer who arrested you and the entire police department or municipality. You can sue them for damages you incurred, such as emotional distress, injury, financial losses, and loss of wages.
How To File a Lawsuit for False Arrest
No one wants to experience false arrest, but if it happens to you, rest assured you have options. You can hold the officer who arrested you liable, but the situation is complicated legally, which is why you need an experienced attorney.
If you believe the officer who arrested you had no probable cause to do so, then discuss with an attorney how to proceed with a lawsuit. You may recoup damages from humiliation, confinement, and excessive force, among other damages you are allowed to pursue under New York state law.
If you choose to do nothing in the face of false arrest, remember that your false arrest will not get recorded. You could be left with a criminal record even if no charges get filed against you, and the police who perpetrated this crime against you will get off scot-free.