New York City Law Blog

Your Civil Rights Are Precious

What is false arrest?

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  • Law posted:Uncategorized
  • Date:April 12, 2018

These days, it is essential to stay aware of your civil rights. Even if you think that you do not involve yourself in activities that you think are risky, there may come a day when you are in the wrong place at the right time and find yourself in a situation where you have your civil rights negatively impacted.

False arrest is just one type of civil rights violation, and many do not know when a false arrest happens to them. Both the federal and state governments have laws against false arrest. A false arrest occurs when law enforcement personnel holds an individual against his or her will but does not have the legal authority to do so.

Legal Reasons for Detainment

Law enforcement has the right to arrest an individual if:

• There is reasonable cause to think the person perpetrated a crime

• A person interferes with law enforcement during an arrest or investigation

• A suspected felon tries to leave a crime scene

If the detainment does not meet any of the above points, it is likely a false arrest.

Citizen’s Arrest

Private citizens also have the right to detain persons who they feel have committed a crime and are trying to flee a crime scene. They can also be charged with false arrest if the confinement was unwarranted or excessive force was used in the detainment.

The Fourth Amendment

The basis for the federal law against false arrest comes from the Fourth Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights. It states that people should not be subject to unreasonable search and seizure. The federal government sees the false arrest as a type of unreasonable seizure. It is a good idea to consult a legal professional if you think you may have been a victim of false arrest.

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