Member of:
Justia Lawyer Rating
American Association for Justice
Union Plus

New York Wrongful Arrest Lawyer

In New York, wrongful arrests happen far too often. When someone is wrongfully arrested, it can lead to various consequences for them. They may face legal troubles, disruptions in their personal life, and potential harm to their reputation. The impact is not only on their immediate circumstances but can have lasting effects on their overall well-being. Seeking damages through a personal injury lawsuit becomes a means for victims to hold law enforcement accountable. Consulting with an experienced New York wrongful arrest lawyer is important to navigate these consequences, ensuring proper legal support to address the aftermath of a wrongful arrest.

Legal Arrest vs. Wrongful Arrest in New York

A wrongful arrest occurs when someone is detained by law enforcement without proper legal justification. Distinguishing between a legal arrest and a wrongful one is crucial.

  • Legal Arrest. A legal arrest is a lawful act carried out by law enforcement when they possess substantial evidence or probable cause, allowing them to detain an individual based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. In this process, officers follow established legal protocols, ensuring adherence to constitutional rights and procedures. The decision to make an arrest is based on credible information that reasonably connects the individual to a criminal act. Officers must assess the situation, considering factors such as witness statements, physical evidence, or observed behavior that collectively contribute to a reasonable suspicion of criminal involvement.

    In New York, legal arrests are governed by various statutes and constitutional provisions, including Article 140 of the New York Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) which outlines the procedures and requirements for arrests in New York. Additionally, the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 12 of the New York State Constitution provide protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, ensuring that arrests are conducted based on probable cause.

    The CPL sets forth the conditions under which law enforcement officers can make arrests, emphasizing the necessity for probable cause. It outlines the rights of individuals during arrests, including the requirement of a warrant in certain situations. Officers must adhere to these legal provisions to ensure that arrests are conducted lawfully.

  • Wrongful Arrest. A wrongful arrest occurs when individuals are detained by law enforcement without proper justification, violating established legal standards. This can happen when officers lack the necessary evidence or probable cause to support the arrest. In these cases, individuals may be unlawfully taken into custody, infringing upon their constitutional rights. Wrongful arrests undermine the principles of a just legal system, as they disregard the essential requirement of credible justification for detaining someone. These arrests may stem from factors such as misidentification, mistaken judgment, or an absence of verifiable evidence connecting the individual to criminal activity. Importantly, individuals subjected to wrongful arrests face legal consequences without a valid basis, leading to unwarranted hardships and potential harm to their reputation.

Being acquitted or having charges not filed may indicate a potential wrongful arrest, but it doesn't conclusively prove it. An arrest can be lawful even if the suspect isn't charged, if the charges are dropped, or if the suspect is acquitted. Legal standards for arrests involve the concept of probable cause, and the absence of charges doesn't automatically render the arrest wrongful. Factors such as law enforcement's reasonable belief at the time of arrest contribute to the legality of the process. Seeking legal advice is essential to assess the circumstances surrounding an arrest and determine the appropriate course of action, acknowledging that the legal outcome doesn't singularly define the lawfulness of the initial arrest.

Who is Liable for a Wrongful Death?

Determining liability in cases of wrongful arrests involves assessing the actions of both individual officers and the law enforcement agencies they represent. Understanding the parties responsible for wrongful arrests is crucial in holding them accountable for their actions.

  • Individual Officers. Officers involved in wrongful arrests may be held personally responsible for their misconduct. This includes actions such as making arrests without probable cause or engaging in discriminatory practices.
  • Law Enforcement Agencies. The police department or municipality may also be held accountable for contributing to wrongful arrests. Inadequate training, supervision, or flawed policies within the department can contribute to the occurrence of these unjust actions.
Pursuing Damages for a Wrongful Arrest

Being arrested is inherently stressful, evoking emotions of fear, anxiety, and confusion. The experience becomes even more distressing if the arrest is wrongful, intensifying feelings of injustice and frustration. If you think your arrest was wrongful, contact an experienced New York wrongful arrest lawyer. They can provide guidance on navigating the legal process and help you seek justice for any harm you may have experienced. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek compensation for the economic damages, noneconomic damages, and punitive damages:

Economic Damages
  • Legal Fees. Legal fees refer to the costs associated with hiring an experienced wrongful arrest attorney in New York to navigate the legal process. Individuals wrongfully arrested often incur expenses related to legal representation as they seek justice and challenge the false arrest. These fees can include charges for legal consultations, court filings, and other necessary legal services.
  • Lost Wages: Lost wages include the financial losses individuals experience due to disruptions in their employment. Wrongful arrests can lead to missed workdays, job instability, or even termination. Seeking compensation for lost wages aims to address the economic impact caused by the false arrest, providing financial relief for the individual affected.
  • Employment Loss. Employment loss refers to the adverse consequences on an individual's job or career resulting from a wrongful arrest. The repercussions may include termination, demotion, or damage to professional standing within the workplace. Seeking damages for employment loss is crucial in addressing the broader impact on the individual's livelihood.
Non-Economic Losses
  • Emotional Distress. Emotional distress encompasses the psychological toll on individuals wrongfully arrested. This includes feelings of anxiety, trauma, and mental anguish resulting from the unjust detainment. Seeking compensation for emotional distress acknowledges the intangible harm inflicted on the victim’s mental well-being.
  • Reputation Damage: Reputation damage pertains to the negative impact on an individual's standing in the community or professional sphere due to a wrongful arrest. False accusations can tarnish one's reputation, affecting relationships and opportunities. Seeking damages for reputation damage aims to address the harm caused by false perceptions.
  • Loss of Consortium: Loss of consortium involves the harm to personal relationships, including the impact on family bonds and companionship. Wrongful arrests can strain relationships and lead to emotional distance. Seeking compensation for loss of consortium acknowledges the strain on personal connections caused by the false arrest.
  • Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering refer to the physical and emotional distress experienced as a result of a wrongful arrest. This category of damages encompasses the overall hardship, discomfort, and distress inflicted on the individual. Seeking compensation for pain and suffering addresses the holistic impact of the false arrest on the individual's well-being.

Punitive Damages: Punitive damages may be awarded as a form of punishment to the party responsible for the wrongful arrest. These damages go beyond compensating the victim and aim to deter similar misconduct in the future. Punitive damages are intended to hold the wrongdoer accountable for their actions and discourage wrongful arrests in the legal system.

Wrongful arrest cases are different from criminal cases; they fall under civil law and are initiated by the victim. One challenging aspect to pursuing compensation for wrongful arrest is the immunity police officers enjoy from prosecution for actions performed within their job, as long as their actions were reasonable. This legal protection can complicate cases, making it essential to seek guidance from an experienced wrongful arrest attorney in New York.

Notable Cases About Wrongful Arrest in New York

Examining notable cases related to wrongful arrests in New York provides insights into the challenges faced by victims and the importance of holding law enforcement accountable for their actions.

  • Kalief Browder. In 2010, at just 16 years old, Browder was wrongfully arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack. Despite his insistence on innocence, he spent three years in pretrial detention at Rikers Island due to an inability to post bail. Browder's case shed light on the significant consequences of wrongful arrests, exposing flaws in the system, including issues related to pretrial detention and the treatment of juveniles. Tragically, the prolonged impact of his wrongful arrest contributed to Browder's decision to take his own life in 2015. His estate filed a lawsuit against the City of New York and received a multimillion dollar settlement.
  • Floyd v. City of New York (Stop and Frisk). The Floyd v. City of New York case was a landmark legal challenge against the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) controversial stop-and-frisk practices. The lawsuit alleged that these policing tactics disproportionately targeted minority communities, particularly Black and Latino individuals, raising serious concerns about racial profiling and civil rights violations. In a significant legal development, a federal judge ruled in 2013 that the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices were unconstitutional and exhibited racial discrimination. See Floyd v. City of N.Y., 959 F. Supp. 2d 540 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)
Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you or someone you know has experienced a wrongful arrest in New York, seeking proper legal representation is critical. Contacting an experienced wrongful arrest attorney serving New York is vital in navigating the complexities of such cases. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, our dedicated team understands the intricacies of wrongful arrest cases and is committed to pursuing justice for our clients. Navigating the legal system may seem overwhelming, but with the right representation, victims can assert their rights and pursue deserved compensation. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients across various locations, including Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Bronx, and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
When my mom, who is suffering from dementia, faced a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit, I contacted Stephen Bilkis of the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Not only did he provide a strategy for defending the claim, he also advised me on steps to take to avoid future personal liability. Whether you are the defendant or plaintiff in an injury case, I highly recommend Mr. Bilkis. S.M.
From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
I had my first encounter with Mr. Stephen Bilkis three years ago over the phone. He and his staff have been nothing but courtesy and professional. Their hard work ended with a large six-figure settlement for my case. I would highly recommend you contact his office. I want to give a special THANK YOU to Ms. Tricia Krapf. She always made me feel like a priority and was always kind and professional over the phone and email. I highly recommend them to anyone in need of legal representation. Celesta