False Arrests

Philadelphia False Arrest Lawyers Fighting For You!

Are you a victim of a false arrest? Often, police will charge you with a crime to cover up their excessive use of force.

If the police arrested, imprisoned or charged you without sufficient evidence, you may be able to recover compensation for damage to your reputation, lost wages, mental suffering and more.

At Abramson & Denenberg, P.C., we have a long history of protecting the rights of people in the Philadelphia area. We have been in business since 1961, and we have a reputation for aggressively defending people who are charged with crimes and zealously advocating for victims of police misconduct. Call 215-398-7066 today to talk to an attorney at our law firm about your potential false arrest or false imprisonment case.

Alan Denenberg, an experienced trial attorney and former city solicitor, leads our police misconduct practice. Having handled these cases from the other side, he is in an exceptional position to represent victims of false arrest.


What Is A False Arrest?

Under Pennsylvania and federal law, police need probable cause to make an arrest or hold someone against his or her will. Probable cause is a reasonable basis or evidence to believe someone committed a crime. Police do not have to be certain, but they need to have more than just a hunch or suspicion.

Judges, not the police, have the final say in whether probable cause exists. When we represent clients in false arrest cases, we work diligently to prove our clients were wrongfully arrested without probable cause.

The Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects us against unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement. When police officers make a false arrest, they violate the victim’s constitutional rights. Victims may be entitled to compensation when a police officer makes a false arrest. Being arrested and held in detention can be a frightening and unpleasant experience. When police officers falsely arrest a person without any justification, they violate federal law. If you believe you have been the victim of a false arrest, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney who can help you understand your rights.


Requirements for Police to Make a Lawful Arrest

The U.S. Constitution requires police officers to meet specific requirements before arresting someone for a crime. To make a lawful arrest, a police officer must meet at least one of the two following criteria:

  • Probable cause: The police officer must have probable cause that the suspect committed a criminal offense
  • Warrant: The arresting police officer must already possess a warrant to make the arrest lawful and valid. The court that issues the warrant must exercise valid jurisdiction over the suspect being arrested

A police officer has probable cause when there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime has been committed or when evidence of the crime is present in the place to be searched. For example, if a police officer notices contraband in plain view, such as unlawful drugs in a person’s automobile, the officer can make a valid arrest. However, unless an exception is made, the arresting officer still needs to have probable cause that the suspect committed a crime. 


Examples of False Arrest by Police 

When a police officer does not meet the legal requirements mentioned above, they cannot arrest a citizen. An arrest is more than an inconvenience. It is an embarrassment that can negatively affect your personal relationships, job opportunities, and living situation. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Police Department has made false arrests in the past. Common cases of false arrest include police officers making arrests based on:

  • Racial profiling
  • Illegal search and seizure
  • Mistaken identity
  • False witness statements or misleading evidence
  • Malicious intent by an arresting officer, including manufacturing evidence 


Legal Protection for Victims of False Arrest

In false arrest cases, federal law often comes into play. Individuals in the United States are protected by the United States Constitution, specifically the Fourth Amendment, and various federal statutes, including the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and 42 U.S.C Section 1983. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures. A false arrest is considered a type of unlawful seizure. Under Section 1983, citizens have the right to pursue civil rights lawsuits against municipalities, arresting police officers, and other governmental entities.  

Section 1983 gives citizens the right to file a lawsuit against the government when government actors deprive them of their constitutional rights while acting in their official capacity or “under color of law.” For an individual to file a civil rights lawsuit, they must satisfy the following two elements:

  • Show that the arresting police officer or other law enforcement officer used force against the individual that was not reasonable under the given circumstances of the time
  • Demonstrate that the individual suffered harm as the result of a wrongful arrest

If you or your loved one has been wrongly arrested or detained by a police officer or other type of law enforcement officer, you can assert a legal cause of action against the arresting officer and the police department for whom the officer works. Bringing a claim under this statute is helpful when police officers take actions they know or should have known to be wrong, such as engaging in a false arrest.


Do I Have a Claim for False Arrest?

You might be able to pursue a false arrest claim even if you were never charged with an actual crime. You could still pursue a claim if the police arrested and detained you at the police station without justification. This is especially true when the police acted on evidence or information they knew to be unreliable or false or when they knew you were innocent. 

For example, if the police officers knew that they were charging you with resisting arrest even though you were compliant, you can pursue a claim for false arrest. Additionally, if you were injured during the arrest, you may be able to bring an additional claim against the police officer and department for police brutality.


Who is Liable for Wrongful Arrest?

If you have been the victim of a wrongful or false arrest, there may be several potential defendants you can sue. First, you may be able to file a lawsuit directly against the police officer and any other members of law enforcement who participated directly in the false arrest. In addition to the arresting officer, you may be able to bring a claim against the arresting police officer’s employer.

Typically, the employer is the police department or the municipality, such as the city, county, or state, where the wrongful arrest occurred. The attorneys at Abramson & Denenberg, P.C. will carefully review your case’s facts and help you understand the party or parties responsible for your wrongful arrest. We will immediately begin pursuing a claim against the offending party or parties.


Protect Your Rights. Talk To A Philadelphia False Arrest Lawyer Today.

If you think you’ve been wrongly arrested, imprisoned or prosecuted, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. If you agree to a plea deal, you may not be able to sue the police.

Call 215-398-7066 today or contact us online to learn about your options. Initial consultations are free. There is no upfront fee to hire us to represent you. We will only charge lawyer’s fees if we win your case.