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Knowing the rules is essential to avoid making an unlawful arrest

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2022 | False Arrest/False Imprisonment

Law enforcement officers and civilians in New York can arrest an individual if there is probable cause. Making sure there is probable cause is essential. Otherwise, a false arrest will be made, and the individual held in custody could sue.

What is unlawful arrest?

Unlawful arrest, also known as false arrest, occurs when a law enforcement official or civilian arrests an individual without probable cause. Probable cause refers to a reasonable belief that a person has been involved in or committed a crime. This concept is used as the grounds for arresting them.

What is a citizen’s arrest?

If a civilian feels like a person has committed a crime, meaning they have probable cause, they can make a citizen’s arrest to stop them from fleeing the scene until law enforcement arrives. However, if the citizen’s arrest doesn’t meet the standards necessary, it will be considered unlawful.

Unlawful arrests can be resisted

If a person attempts to arrest an individual and cannot provide identification or explain their actions, resistance against the arrest can be completed by a citizen. This standard is one of the reasons why police officers and security guards are highly trained regarding the rules needed to make a lawful arrest. Doing so avoids stepping across legal boundaries and making a mistake.

Example of unlawful arrest

If a person decides to leave a store with merchandise they haven’t paid for, a security guard, police officer or citizen could legally arrest them for taking this action. However, it would be considered a false arrest if they were only arrested because someone had a suspicion that they might shoplift. Browsing merchandise and looking suspicious does not give anyone the right to conduct an arrest.

Understanding the requirements to make a lawful arrest is essential. Otherwise, the rights of the individual getting arrested may be violated, allowing them to sue.