Every year, innocent Philadelphia citizens are falsely arrested by police officers who do not have the legal authority to arrest them. Police officers do not have unlimited power to arrest citizens. Being arrested without cause can be a terrifying and devastating experience that can negatively impact your life. False arrest victims may have the right to sue the police officer and police department responsible for the arrest. Successful claimants can obtain compensation for their damages due to their false arrest.

Were You Falsely Arrested in Philadelphia? We Can Help

If you believe you have been falsely arrested in Philadelphia, the attorneys at Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. are prepared to fight for your rights. You may be entitled to compensation for the Philadelphia Police Department’s violation of your constitutional rights. Contact Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for you.

What Constitutes a False Arrest?

A false arrest is made without a valid warrant or probable cause. Probable cause exists when some circumstances or facts would lead a reasonable person to believe that the suspect has committed a crime. Warrantless arrests are only permissible when the individual being arrested has committed a crime in the presence of the arresting officer. False arrests can occur when police officers make mistakes, act carelessly, or are negligent. 

Proving your arrest was unlawful requires you to have evidence showing that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to believe you committed a crime when you were arrested. Probable cause is defined as a reasonable belief, based on the facts and circumstances, that a crime has been committed. If the arresting officer did not have probable cause to believe you committed a crime, an attorney could petition the court to dismiss the charges against you. 

False Arrests Due to Coercion

False arrests can also happen when the police officer tricks or coerces the suspect into waiving their constitutional rights. For example, suppose a police officer tells a person they will not be arrested if they answer a few questions. Doing so could be considered a false arrest. False arrests can also happen due to police misconduct or abuse of power.

False Arrests Can Have Devastating Consequences

A false arrest can have a permanent, devastating effect on the person being arrested. False arrests have led victims to feel their lives are in jeopardy and try to resist arrest. A suspect may be concerned that their safety or life could be in jeopardy and try to run away. In that case, an officer may use extreme physical force that could cause the victim to suffer physical injuries. In addition to physical injuries, the victim may experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of the false arrest.

Suing a Police Officer for a False Arrest

In some cases, a false arrest in Philadelphia could give rise to a civil rights lawsuit. If you were wrongfully arrested, you might have the right to sue the police for false imprisonment, assault, battery, or other injuries that you sustained because of the false arrest. Victims can pursue compensation for their physical and emotional injuries. An unlawful arrest can also lead to lost employment opportunities, lost wages, and damages to the victim’s reputation. 

If you have suffered from police misconduct, including being the victim of a false arrest, you may have a legal justification to sue for damages. There are many different types of civil rights lawsuit claims that individuals can bring against the police department. Many times, victims of false arrest are also victims of other civil rights violations, including the following:

  • Excessive force (or use of force)
  • Unlawful detention (false imprisonment)
  • False statements (perjury)

Overcoming Immunity

The government and its employees, including police officers, generally enjoy immunity from being sued. However, under certain circumstances, the government waives its qualified immunity so victims of harm caused by government employees can pursue justice, accountability, and fairness. Victims can pursue a claim through 42 U.S.C. § 1983, also known as Section 1983. To sue a police officer under Section 1983, you must prove that the police officer violated a clearly established constitutional or statutory right and that any reasonable officer should have known that their conduct violated the victim’s established rights.

What Can a Wrongful Arrest Attorney Do for Me?

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Philadelphia, it is crucial that you understand your legal options and rights. A false arrest attorney can help you determine whether your arrest was lawful. If the arrest was not lawful, an attorney can help you file a civil lawsuit against the responsible police department or officer. 

Once a civil rights attorney has determined that the arrest was unlawful, your attorney can begin gathering evidence and can file a civil lawsuit against the police officer or department responsible. If your lawsuit is successful, a court may award damages for the financial losses you suffered due to the false arrest and compensation for your pain and suffering. If the police officer acted maliciously or intentionally, you might be entitled to additional punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the officer or department for their harmful actions.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you have questions about whether you may have a right to sue a police officer and police department for a false arrest, the attorneys at Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. are here to help. Our attorneys have extensive experience fighting for victims of false arrest, police brutality, and other civil rights violations. You only have a limited time to pursue the compensation you need and deserve. 

If you have suffered injuries due to a false arrest in Philadelphia, do not delay. Contact Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. We will carefully review the facts in your case and help you understand your legal options. We will help you sue the responsible party or parties if you have a valid claim.