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What is a false arrest?

Because law enforcement possesses the power to place individuals under arrest, as citizens, we expect that the police should follow lawful procedures when they take someone into custody. Sometimes this might not be the case. In some instances, a person might be arrested when in reality it was not legally proper to arrest that individual in the first place. When this happens, a person has been the victim of a false arrest. In certain circumstances, a New York police officer may have taken someone into custody unlawfully.

The right to be free from the government unreasonably searching and seizing property or persons is protected by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. To undertake a search, a police officer must have a warrant or probable cause to do so. According to FindLaw, if an individual is arrested without probable cause, they may have a remedy under anti-discrimination law passed by the federal government.

Under 42 USC 1983, you have recourse if you have been unlawfully arrested. If an individual acting by the power of the law deprives someone of their constitutional rights, that individual can be sued for damages. To do so, the wronged person must establish that the offender did not have probable cause to undertake the search of the person’s property and engage in the arrest.

Typically, when someone seeks monetary damages as a result of a false arrest, the wronged person would not sue the police department itself. The plaintiff would bring litigation against the police officer who conducted the arrest. The lawsuit would name the officer twice, once in the individual capacity and then a second time in the officer’s official capacity. However, if necessary, a person might bring an injunction against a police department to stop continued false arrests.

It should be noted that false arrest cases are difficult to prove. Nonetheless, when someone is the victim of an unlawful arrest, it is possible to seek a legal remedy. Because false arrest cases can take many forms, you should only consider this article as informative in nature and not as legal advice for your current situation.

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Belovin Franzblau & Associates, P.C.
2311 White Plains Road
Bronx, NY 10467

Phone: 347-773-3628
Phone: 718-655-2900
Phone: 718-655-2000
Fax: 718-655-2363
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