What Constitutes a False Arrest and How to Get Compensated

While many police officers do their best to carry out justice fairly, mistakes and violations can occur. False arrests can happen, and when it happens, it can be a traumatizing experience for the unfortunate victim. Fortunately, there are protections for these, allowing the victim to claim monetary damages under the civil rights lawsuits. 

That being said, in this article, we will delve deeper into what makes constitutes a false arrest and what you can do to remedy this situation:

What makes an arrest false

In simple terms, a false arrest one without any legal justification. For instance, a false arrest can occur if the individual arresting the victim does not have the legal right to make the arrest. Another example would be arresting someone without a warrant or probable cause to do so.

Keep in mind that an arrest might start off lawful at first but then slowly develop into an unlawful one. For example, you may be stopped by a traffic officer due to a broken headlight or taillight. However, you find yourself unable to leave after receiving the ticket because the officer wants a dog to come and sniff your car for drugs. Without probable cause or a warrant, that is a false arrest. 

In some cases, even if an officer has a warrant on you, the arrest may still become a false arrest. For example, if the warrant does not specifically name you as the person to be arrested or it does not say who issued the warrant, the arrest can be unlawful. 

Although rare, there are cases where officers lie to judges to justify probable cause. Any arrest based on a lie ends up also becoming a false arrest. However, if the judge comes to believe that there was probable cause even with the false statement made, the warrant will remain valid and the arrest legitimate.

What you can do if falsely arrested

If you have been falsely arrested, there are typically four things you can do. 

First, you can file a complaint with the police department. If you succeed, the police officer may be suspended. In more severe situations, the officer may even be fired. 

Second, you can motion to exclude any evidence obtained during the false arrest. In other words, you can ask the court to disregard any “evidence” obtained due to the false arrest. 

Third, you can run a lawsuit against the officer and the police department and demand damages or injunction. This can cause the police department to change their arresting policies, carry out efforts to retrain their officers, or even fire the officer that made the false arrest. During the lawsuit, you can also demand to be compensated for lost wages, mental distress, medical bills, and other damage done due to the arrest.


A false arrest can be a traumatizing experience for any unfortunate person. Fortunately, there are ways to remedy such situations, and if you are one such unfortunate victim, remember what we have shared with you today. Understand your rights, and do not forget to reach out to expert lawyers to assist you in this situation. They will help you with your court case to protect your innocence and ensure you get the damages you deserve. In addition, their support will make going through issues much more straightforward and less burdensome, something you will come to treasure in such a stressful time in your life.

Ronemus & Vilensky is an accident and malpractice attorney in New York, covering personal injury, civil rights, sexual harassment, and many more to help clients receive the compensation they deserve. If you are looking for a lawyer to assist you in your wrongful arrest lawsuit, work with us today!