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Westchester County False Arrest

While we all know that the police have the power to arrest people, it is important that we also understand that that power is not unlimited. The police can arrest someone only under very specific circumstances. The police must have probable cause. If probable cause does not exist, then the police cannot lawfully arrest that person. However, the police do make unlawful arrests. When they do, they have violated the rights of the person they arrested. For this reason, the victim of the false arrest has the right to hold the officer of officers involved accountable and demand compensation through a civil lawsuit. If you believe that the police did not have probable cause when they arrested you and threw you in jail, contact an experienced Westchester County false arrest lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We understand that being falsely arrested is frustrating, humiliating, and terrifying. We are here to help.

Probable Cause

False arrest is a type of police misconduct that occurs when the police make an arrest without having probable cause to do so. Generally, the police are only allowed to make an arrest under very specific circumstances.

  • Probable cause exists that the suspect committed a crime or is about to commit a crime
  • The person is interfering in a legitimate police investigation or arrest
  • Pursuant to a lawful arrest warrant

However, accusations of false arrest are common in New York. There are many reasons why false arrest occurs, including overzealous policing, racial profiling, and poor training. There have even been instances in which the police planted evidence or fabricated information in order to justify an arrest or secure an arrest warrant. When an arrest is not lawful, the result is a violation of the civil rights of the victim.

Note that the police also must have probable cause to secure an arrest warrant. They must provide the judge with evidence that they have probable cause that the suspect committed a crime. Otherwise, the judge will not sign the search warrant. If you believe an arrest warrant was illegally obtained, contact an experienced Westchester County false arrest lawyer.

Civil Liability

When police, who are government officials, abuse their power and engage in activities such as false arrest, the victims of their misconduct have the right to seek damages against the police department and against the offending police officer. Through a civil lawsuit, victims can claim damages for the financial and other losses they suffered because of the officer chose to act unlawfully.

Note that a false arrest is not only about inconveniencing the victim. Victims of false arrest can suffer serious physical personal injury (link to: ) during the arrest and while in custody. As a result, they end up with substantial medical bills. In addition, the employment and careers of those who are falsely arrested are negatively impacted by false arrests. Of course, if you are in jail, you cannot go to work. While in some cases the confinement may be brief, in other cases victims of false arrest have spent weeks and months in jail. The result is not only a lost in wages, but in job loss. An arrest record, even if the charges are eventually dropped or dismissed, can negative impact the victim’s career and ability to find work.

While medical expenses and lost wages are economic losses, in a civil lawsuit the victim can also seek damages for non-economic losses. Non-economic losses are subjective and do not come with a bill or receipt to show the exact amount of the loss. Examples of non-economic include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and humiliation. An experienced false arrest attorney serving Westchester County can explain the types of non-economic damages to which you may be entitled as a victim of false arrest.

Furthermore, victims may be awarded punitive damages if the court finds that the actions of the police officer were so extreme that extra compensation is appropriate. For example, punitive damages might be awarded if evidence shows that the police officer lied to get a search warrant or if it is determined that the false arrest was based on personal reasons.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been a victim of false arrest, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. However, you need to act now. Contact the experienced false arrest attorneys in Westchester County at Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent victims of police misconduct in Westchester County, Long Island, Staten Island, Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau County, and Suffolk County.

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