What Is a Wrongful Arrest in New York?
There are two different laws that govern false arrest type of situations. Under Federal Law 42 U.S.C. § 1983 gives people whose rights have been violated the right to sue in federal court for a civil rights violation. The Fourth Amendment says there can be no seizure without probable cause, so basically, that means the police need to have probable cause for the arrest. The standard under New York State law for false arrest is basically the same. Our New York City false arrest lawyers can prove there was no probable cause for an arrest, that is a false arrest, and you can sue if you were basically arrested for no reason. One thing that a lot of people misconstrue or don’t understand is they say, “Hey, I didn’t do anything wrong. I was arrested and I should be able to sue.” It’s not necessarily the standard or necessarily correct because there is a difference between being factually innocent and there being a lack of probable cause. If the police have some probable cause to believe that you committed the crime even if you didn’t commit it, you still can’t sue or you can sue but you probably won’t be successful. Some of the common scenarios you see in this kind of case is where one person says, “I saw that person do something, X, Y and Z”, or a wife complains that her husband hit her even though he didn’t. Under those scenarios, the police still have probable cause to make the arrest because someone has said that you did something and they don’t have to necessarily sort out the details there.
The cases where you do have a provable case of false arrest are, for example, where someone’s standing on the street and the police just assume they have drugs on them so the police just roll up and search them. They don’t find anything, but they bring them in for being disorderly or they make up stuff basically. Other scenarios for false arrest are where the police have evidence showing the person didn’t commit the crime but they arrest them anyway. For example, if they get caught to a store for shoplifting and the man says, “Yes, they shoplifted”, here is the video and the video plainly shows they didn’t shoplift then that’s a false arrest.
Another scenario is, for example, and our New York City false arrest attorneys see this a lot, sort of encounters where police officers feel disrespected and they just arrest someone for no reason and make up stuff to say they did X, Y and Z. A lot of times, our New York City false arrest lawyers have been successful in winning these cases where we’ve been enabled to show through video evidence that what the police are saying happened didn’t happen at all. For example, a lot of times now police encounters are being filmed, which is great. Where our New York City civil rights can get a hold of a video showing that the police say one thing happened that justifies the arrest but really something completely different happened. There was no reason for the arrest, but the police just overstepped their bounds or were angry or didn’t particularly like this person and just arrested him and charged him, then there is no reason for the arrest and it’s a false arrest.
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