How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Civil Rights Violation Claim?
You have a valid civil rights violation claim if we can establish the actual elements of the cause of action. The best way to figure out if you have a valid case is to consult with our experienced police misconduct and civil rights lawyers. There has to be an actual acquittal, meaning the person was found not guilty or if they were convicted, the conviction itself has to be vacated or old occurrence or also actual innocence are very important part of this because you really can’t sue if you are technically guilty of what they said you were guilty of but you got it off on a technicality. We also look for the lack of probable cause or police misconduct. If the courts have expanded and adopted a doctrine called Qualified Immunity, they basically give immunity if the police disagree as to whether there was a probable cause for an arrest or prosecution.
You really need to be able to show a clear case that there was no probable cause for the arrest or prosecution and reasonable officers couldn’t disagree about whether there was a probable cause. You really need circumstances where no reasonable officer could believe he was right to do what happened. Those are the cases involving fabrication of evidence or a witness tampering, tampering of evidence, lying, just saying things happened that didn’t happen. You really need to be able to establish some sort of police misconduct to be able to bring one of these cases. It’s not enough that you were factually innocent if the police have probable cause.
The only exception being, if you were wrongfully convicted, is you don’t really have to show police misconduct, you just have to show you were actually innocent. You spent time in jail for a crime you didn’t commit and that your conviction was vacated.
What Damages Are Available in a Violation of Civil Rights Claim?
The damages range from a number of different things. For example, in a police brutality or excessive force case in New York, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, both physical and emotional. If you lost your job and missed time from work, you are also entitled to damages for that. In a malicious prosecution case and the unjust conviction case, the damages can be quite substantial if someone spends a significant amount of time in jail because you are entitled to compensation for having been subjected to living in jail and being in jail. You are entitled to lost wages and loss of income, whatever you can show you would have made had you been out. Generally, there is also recovery for punitive damages if the juries believe that the police did something grossly improper. They can award damages just to punish the police and send a message that this type of action should not have happened. You can also recover attorney’s fees.
At What Point Should I Contact an Attorney to Handle a Civil Rights Violation Case?
You should obviously get an experienced New York City criminal defense attorney right away to help you defend the charges. Often, the evidence developed during a thorough criminal investigation to defend the criminal case becomes useful in showing what happened in the civil case and the two really go hand-in-hand. Generally, you retain counsel very early on if you are being even investigated for a crime or suspected of a crime so that you are in a position to protect yourself. Early collection of evidence and documentation is very important in any criminal investigation which ultimately turns into a civil prosecution or malicious prosecution, false arrest, excessive force or due process violations or the civil rights violations.
Get Information on Validity of a Civil Rights Violation Claim or call the Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (212) 858-0503 and get the legal answers you are seeking.