New York Civil Rights Attorneys Fight False Arrests
Police officers and law enforcement are of course vital to our safety and security, and we count on them to protect us and uphold the law. Unfortunately, sometimes police can be overzealous in their efforts and make an arrest without a warrant or the probable cause required by the U.S. Constitution. The civil rights attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. fight these illegal constitutional violations and work to ensure that individuals receive due process of law in any criminal proceeding.
False or Warrantless Arrests
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Being arrested or detained is a “seizure” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. In an ideal setting, an arrest is only made pursuant to a valid arrest warrant based on probable cause and meeting other constitutional requirements. However, police can still make an arrest without a warrant in most instances, except if they are arresting a person in their home, but even this rule has exceptions.
If an arrest is made without a warrant, it should still be based on probable cause, which is a legal term meaning the police have a reason to believe that a crime was committed by the person they are arresting. Probable cause is a legal standard, and arrests made by police who claim to have had probable cause should be looked at carefully by an experienced civil rights attorney to see if the facts truly support their claim.
Being stopped and detained on the street, or held in custody but not arrested, may be legal or illegal depending on the circumstances. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of the police to stop people if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is connected with criminal activity. During this stop, the police may increase their suspicion to the level of probable cause for an arrest, or they may send the person on their way. It is important to determine whether the stop was initially justified and whether it exceeded its lawful scope. New York City’s “stop-and-frisk” policy was recently found to be in violation of federal civil rights laws due to concerns over racial profiling, and the NYPD was ordered to change the way it conducts these stops.
Contact Experienced Hudson Valley Civil Rights Lawyers to Make Things Right
If an arrest is made without a warrant or without probable cause, a false arrest may have occurred, which is a violation of the person’s civil rights that may be remedied with a lawsuit for money damages under a federal law known as section 1983 (42 U.S.C. 1983). Besides money damages, a section 1983 lawsuit can also be used to stop the police from engaging in such misconduct in the future and force departmental policy changes in the way in which arrests are made. If you believe your civil rights have been violated through an illegal stop or false arrest, contact the civil rights attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C.