Wrongful Imprisonment / False Imprisonment / Wrongful Conviction
In the United States, it is a fundamental civil right that citizens cannot be detained or arrested without probable cause. However, police officers and prosecutors do sometimes abuse their power by falsely arresting someone, pursuing false charges, coercing a witness to give false testimony, or worse. A false imprisonment in which you are arrested and spend time in jail or confined can be devastating. On top of the stress and humiliation, your reputation may be damaged, and your ability to get a job may be adversely affected. If you are the victim of false imprisonment or a wrongful conviction in New York City, the knowledgeable civil rights attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help you pursue compensation.False Imprisonment and Wrongful Convictions
In New York, false imprisonment is similar to false arrest, but it includes being illegally confined against your will. You can bring a false imprisonment case under the federal statute 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or as a state common law claim. If you are asserting a common law claim for false imprisonment, you must show that the defendant intended to confine you, that you were conscious of the confinement, that you did not consent to the confinement, and that the confinement was not privileged. Courts have noted that the elements of a claim under Section 1983 are substantially the same as elements of a false arrest claim under New York common law.
Often, the false imprisonment is by an agent of the government, such as police officers or city officials. However, in some cases, private security is responsible for a false imprisonment. This can happen at a shopping center, restaurant, or other place open to the public. In some cases, the false imprisonment is because of a wrongful conviction obtained through police or prosecutorial misconduct, such as fabricating evidence or another abuse of process.
If a false arrest and subsequent false imprisonment occurs without a warrant, the presumption is that they were unlawful. However, the defendant can defend on the grounds that the arrest and imprisonment were justified because he or she had probable cause to believe a crime had been committed.
Probable cause exists when an officer faced with reliable facts and circumstances reasonably believes someone is guilty of a felony. If the defendant's version of events does not establish that you committed a crime for which you were arrested and imprisoned, there is no probable cause. It is the defendant's burden to establish a privileged detention.
In a false imprisonment claim, damages may be awarded to compensate you for the ordeal. Generally, you can be compensated for emotional distress and time spent in confinement away from your life.Discuss a Claim of Police Misconduct with a New York City Attorney
In many cases, a victim of false imprisonment does not know for sure why the police or prosecutors falsely imprisoned him or her. There may be improper bias or racial profiling involved, which adds another layer of claims. If you are subject to police misconduct in New York City, you may need the help of an experienced civil rights attorney. At Phillips & Associates, we offer knowledgeable representation for those whose civil rights have been infringed in all five boroughs, including Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our online form.