Can I Sue a Police Officer For False Arrest Or Malicious Detention?
Published on:September 1, 2015

Can I Sue a Police Officer For False Arrest Or Malicious Detention?In law, the police officers or other public authorities could falsely arrest or imprison you by merely stopping you on the street without lawful excuses. Today, there are hundreds of people who are victims of false arrest and false imprisonment by police officers in Staten Island. If a police wrongfully arrest you, he/she causes severe harm to you, and the only way to fight back against their misconduct is to file a lawsuit for damages.

Even if you are detained for just a few hours, a wrongful arrest takes away your freedom; disrupt employment, family responsibilities and other activities. Besides, it causes you severe mental distress which may last for a long time and often very embarrassing, even if it is clear that the arrest and detention was unlawful.

The Immunity of Law Enforcement Authorities

Unfortunately, courts often grant law enforcement authorities immunity not to hinder investigative duties. However the immunity is qualified, meaning that the police officer cannot willingly and freely violate your rights. Being stopped and questioned by police officers in connection to a crime is a bad experience for many, but as long as the police officer is performing his/her duties properly there is a violation of your rights.

For a police officer to arrest you legally, he/she must have probable cause. With no probable cause, an arrest violates the protection against the unreasonable seizure law. However, there is one exception to this rule. The mere fact that the arrest requires an evidence of criminal activity, probable cause does not exist if you have clearly established legal rights to engage in the activity that prompted the arrest. The police can also arrest you without a warrant for a misdemeanor or felony committed in their presence.

Proving False Arrest

The police have powers of arrest, which allows them to detain you lawfully in certain conditions. However, the arrest is the last option and the police officers must consider whether there is need to do that or consider their own convenience. Even if the information the police relied upon later turns out to be false, the officer is not liable, because he/she believed it was accurate at the time of arrest. To prevail on false arrest, you must prove that:

  • The arresting officer lacked probable caus
  • The police exceeded a reasonable bound
  • The officer infringed your constitutional rights
  • The infringement resulted in some injuries or damages

Malicious Detention

Malicious detention claims assert that the police officer or other law enforcement authority wrongly deprived you the fourteenth amendment right to liberty. To prevail on malicious detention, you must prove that:

  • The police officer commenced a criminal proceeding without proper investigation
  • The proceeding ended in your favor, no conviction
  • There was no probable cause
  • The proceeding was brought with malice towards you.

As with false arrest, this compensation claim will fail if the police officer had probable cause to start criminal proceedings against you.

Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

The civil rights compensation claim is part of the legal system, offering a balance between the rights of individuals to be free from police misconduct and the duty of law enforcement to uphold the law. However, cases against the police officers and other law enforcement authorities may be very difficult. The officers are immune, and there are a few evidences you must secure, including a statement of police, records, statement of witnesses and other key documents to prove the false arrest and detention. If you are a victim of police officer misconduct, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Staten Island.