False Imprisionment | Brooklyn Personal Injury Attorney
False Arrest and Police Misconduct in New York happen way too often and are on the rise. Sometimes the incidents, even when caught on video, can leave room for doubt. However the latest Police Corruption and Misconduct case in Florida show some egregious acts.
Four Hollywood Police Officers are caught on tape framing a woman for drunk driving. After an officer failed to stop before rear ending the woman, they tried to cover it up.
As Reported by Janie Smith of NBC
Throughout the tape, the cops acknowledged what they are doing is illegal, but when you are the law, there is nothing wrong with bending it for a fellow cop, one says. “I don’t lie and make things up ever because it’s wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I’ll do it,” Pressley tells Francisco after reassuring him no one will ever find out. “She’s freaking hammered anyway.”
Now, not only are the police under intense scrutiny, every single DUI arrest by the officers is under scrutiny.
Arrest After the Search of a Vehicle
False Arrest and Probable Cause
Arizona v. Gant
U.S. Supreme Court–April 21, 2009
On April 21, 2009. the United States Supreme Court changed the rules which determine if there was “probable cause” sufficient to create a legal, as opposed to a “false”, arrest.
For all those drivers, or other vehicle occupants, that are stopped in vehicles for a traffic infraction, the rule for the past 28 years has allowed a police officer to search the car involved. If the officer found evidence of a totally unrelated crime, such as an illegal drug or unlicensed weapon, then an arrest based on that evidence in the car would be legal.
That rule has now been tightened with Arizona vs Gant.
Under the new rules in Arizona vs Gant, a vehicle search will only be permitted under two conditions: if the person being arrested can reach into the car to grab a weapon or tamper with evidence the police offer reasonably believes to be in the car or, the police officer believes there is evidence in the car that is directly relevant to the crime for which the occupant was arrested . Just arresting an occupant of a vehicle, by itself, is no longer grounds to permit a police search of a vehicle.
If, for example, a marijuana cigarette is found when the police search a vehicle after having stopped the vehicle because of an illegal turn, an arrest based on that marijuana cigarette would no longer be deemed to be based on “probable cause” and the arrest based on the marijuana cigarette would not be legal.
It is, of course,more important than ever to discuss possibilities of a “false arrest” with competent legal counsel.
When is an Arrest “FALSE”?
The most common mistake made by clients who have been arrested when they have, in fact, done nothing wrong, is to assume that if the case is dismissed by a judge at some point, then that is enough to give them grounds for a “false arrest” lawsuit. This, unfortunately, is not necessarily true.
The reason is quite simple: The evidence legally required to make a police officer’s arrest “legal”, and therefore not “false”, is less than the evidence necessary to convict a person of a crime in court.
The legal standard to judge the legality of an arrest is whether the officer had “probable cause” to believe a crime was committed. The legal standard to generate a conviction is whether, taking all the evidence presented, there is a conclusion “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the person arrested committed the crime. “Reasonable Doubt” requires a much higher level of proof than does “Probable Cause”. Therefore, while the prosecutor may not be able to meet the higher standard of “Beyond Reasonable Doubt” in court, the police officer may have met the lower standard of “Probable Cause” in making the arrest. If the lower standard was met by the police officer in making the arrest, then there is no “FALSE” arrest.
It is of the utmost importance that you do not try to decide for yourself whether “probable cause” existed in deciding whether there was a “FALSE” arrest. Seek the assistance of a competent attorney well versed in matters involving “Police Misconduct” and discuss the matter fully with that attorney.