A common misconception among those who have been arrested is that once a case against them is dismissed, they have been vindicated and made completely whole once again. In reality, the traumatic effects of an arrest can remain with a person for the rest of his or her lifetime. The ill effects are even harsher when the original arrest was wrongful or frivolous. When there was no probable cause to support the original arrest, a person has been the victim of a False Arrest.
Thankfully, the law provides such a person with a mechanism to recover for the loss and hardships suffered as a result of the arrest. This action is commonly referred to as a False Arrest Claim. By filing a False Arrest claim, the victim can sue the Police, City and/or any other entity which caused the arrest to be made.
A victim of a False Arrest can seek to collect for the following: (1) Time in Custody/ Jail (known as false imprisonment); (2) Physical Injuries suffered; (3) Violation of Civil Rights (when arrest is based on race, color or creed); (4) Length of prosecution; (5) Number of required court appearances; (6) Loss of Employment; (7) Loss of Earnings; and (8) Damage to Reputation.
Although a False Arrest claim allows the victim to be compensated, there is a small window of time in which the claim must be filed. A claim can be filed against any party who was involved in the arrest. The Police are sued as employees of the City. The law provides that any claim against the City must be made within a short amount of time. In both New York and New Jersey, a claim against a city must be filed within 90 days. In New York, the law suit must be started within a year and 90 days of the arrest and in New Jersey, this period is two years.
In sum, the law affords victims of false arrests an avenue to recover for the various damages. However, victims must act expeditiously in filing a claim in order to preserve their right to file a suit against a municipality. If you feel you have suffered as a result of a false arrest, it is important that you contact a False Arrest Attorney in order to learn how to begin your road to compensation.