Understanding Your Rights After a False Arrest and “Decline Prosecution”: Explained by a New York Civil Rights AttorneyThursday, July 7th, 2011
NYPD officers regularly arrest people without probable cause. A wrongful arrest such as this often results in an innocent person spending a night, or more, in jail before he/she is released from custody. Sometimes the falsely arrested person has to spend months, even years, battling his/her case. Needless to say, criminal cases can result in huge legal fees, missed days of work, tremendous anxiety, and, at worst, the deprivation of liberty for those unfortunate enough to be forced to remain behind bars. Fortunately, victims of false arrest can seek justice for these wrongs by filing lawsuits against the city.
What you might not know, however, is that even those people who are fortunate enough to have their cases dismissed early in the process can still potentially win money in civil lawsuits against the city. Almost every night, the District Attorney’s Office issues a “decline prosecution,” whereby the office overrules the decision of the arresting police officer and releases the arrested person from custody (oftentimes, from Central Booking). In some ways, the DA’s decision to dismiss the case can be construed as evidence that the police officer’s decision to arrest was in fact wrongful. Thus, the person freed by the District Attorney this way can be surprisingly successful in winning a decent and quick settlement with the help of an experienced attorney. Oftentimes, the person released from custody before seeing a judge for the first time (arraignment) has no idea why he is being released – if this sounds familiar to you, the DA probably decided to “decline prosecution” in your case, and you may have a viable lawsuit against the city.
If you or a loved one have been falsely arrested and had your case dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office, you should consider contacting the experienced criminal defense and civil rights attorneys at Galluzzo & Johnson LLP. Their team of former prosecutors understands how best to pursue civil lawsuits against the city for false arrest and malicious prosecution, and can maybe help you or your loved one win a settlement. They work on contingency, meaning that you don’t pay them a dime unless you collect. Call them to schedule a free consultation to discuss the possibility of pursuing justice in civil court.