- How Long Do You Have to Report Police Brutality?
- What Constitutes an Illegal Search and Seizure?
- What is Racial Profiling?
- Can My Property Be Seized If I’m Convicted of a Crime?
- How Do I Prove I Was Falsely Imprisoned?
- Do the Police Need a Warrant to Search My Car?
- What Does it Mean to Plead the Fifth?
- What Is Malicious Prosecution?
- What is the ‘Right to Know Act’?
- What Are Miranda Rights?
- What Are My Rights If I’m Pulled Over in New York?
- When Do You Have the Right to a Lawyer?
- What Compensation is Available if I’ve Been Wrongfully Convicted?
- What is a Wrongful Conviction in New York?
- When Can the NYPD Enter My House Without a Warrant?
- What Is Considered Police Brutality?
- How Do I Sue the NYPD?
- How Do I Sue Police for Harassment?
Q: How Long Do You Have to Report Police Brutality?
A: If you’ve been through the harrowing experience of police brutality, filing a report can be the first step to ensuring justice is served. What is the deadline? It depends– the time limit can range from several weeks to several years. You need to act quickly, but don’t do it alone– trying to tackle this without the help of a New York civil rights lawyer experienced in police misconduct cases can torpedo your case before it begins.
Q: What Constitutes an Illegal Search and Seizure?
A: Law enforcement officers – both the local police and federal agents – must follow rules designed to protect the privacy rights of citizens. When they do not follow these rules, the result can be an illegal search and seizure. When law enforcement executes a search without a warrant or probable cause, it is a violation of the constitution, and the evidence may be excluded from court.
Q: What is Racial Profiling?
A: The consequences of racial profiling are devastating to people who are detained, arrested, questioned, harassed or otherwise targeted based on their color of skin or ethnic background. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “any definition of racial profiling must include, in addition to racially or ethnically discriminatory acts, discriminatory omissions on the part of law enforcement as well.”
Q: Can My Property Be Seized If I’m Convicted of a Crime?
A: Prosecutors may try to seize a criminal defendant’s property if that property was acquired as part of the alleged criminal act. For example, a prosecutor might seek forfeiture of cash that was paid to a defendant in exchange for illegal drugs or other contraband. Criminal defendants have property rights, and prosecutors are required to meet very exacting criteria in order to justify the seizure of property. If prosecutors take short cuts around the law, they must be held accountable.
Q: How Do I Prove I Was Falsely Imprisoned?
A: Studies suggest that up to 5 percent of people in the U.S. prison system are actually innocent. False imprisonment – along with false arrest — is a civil rights violation that can result in legal compensation for the victim. False imprisonment is defined as the intentional restraint of an individual against his or her will without a lawful justification to do so. The term “restraint” does not imply that the victim has to be bound or limited by physical barriers, but rather denied the liberty to move about freely.
Q: Do the Police Need a Warrant to Search My Car?
A: If the officer that stops you suspects you are committing a crime, they might ask for your permission to search your car. You have the right to refuse, but that might not be the end of it. The police could return with a warrant or even search your vehicle without one— if they claim to have probable cause.
Q: What Does it Mean to Plead the Fifth?
A: Most individuals have a general idea of the protections in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Among other rights and privileges, it gives a criminal defendant the right to remain silent after an arrest. Few people realize that, in addition to complicating evidentiary issues, any derogation of those rights can expose them to claims of violating the defendant’s civil rights.
Q: What Is Malicious Prosecution?
A: Zealous authorities often pursue criminal defendants with aggressive tactics that are intended to wear down defenses and to win convictions. Authorities have a right to pursue their cases, but only if their tactics do not cross the line into malicious prosecution. Defining where that line exists, however, can be a difficult challenge.
Q: What is the ‘Right to Know Act’?
A: The Right to Know Act went into effect on October 19, 2018, to protect the rights of civilians stopped or searched by the New York City Police Department. This law comes on the heels of the controversial “stop-and-frisk” tactics that a federal judge declared unconstitutional as “a policy of indirect racial profiling.”
Q: What Are Miranda Rights?
A: If you watch any American television, particularly police dramas, you are familiar with: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.” This warning statement is what is known as Miranda Rights.
Q: What Are My Rights If I’m Pulled Over in New York?
A: Traffic stops are a common occurrence in and around New York City. However, many people who are pulled over by the New York City Police Department do not understand their rights. Drivers are not required to incriminate themselves, which means they have the right to remain silent and do not need to consent to a search. However, in some cases, the officers may search your vehicle even without your consent.
Q: When Do You Have the Right to a Lawyer?
A: If you are accused of a crime, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. You may invoke that right during initial interrogation by the police, when the criminal prosecution officially starts, or when your attorney has already been retained for a related or unrelated matter. When your freedom is on the line, timely and effective legal representation is crucial. Here are some things to know about exercising that right – and what to do if your right to counsel has been violated.
Q: What Compensation is Available if I’ve Been Wrongfully Convicted?
A: No amount of money can undo the time spent behind bars due to a wrongful conviction. However, compensation can bring emotional closure while replacing some of the income and opportunities a wrongfully imprisoned person has lost. New York State makes compensation available under the Court of Claims Act, Section 8b. Each case is evaluated based on its circumstances, and the court awards damages in an amount that it determines will fairly and reasonably compensate the individual.
Q: What is a Wrongful Conviction in New York?
A: Wrongful convictions rob men and women of their youth, careers, relationships, and freedom. Individuals who are wrongly imprisoned–whether due to abuse of authority, lack of forensic evidence, witness misidentification, or a coerced confession– have a right to seek fair compensation for the injustice they have suffered.
Q: When Can the NYPD Enter My House Without a Warrant?
A: Recent media attention on “no knock” warrants has obscured the fact that there are situations in which the NYPD can legitimately enter your house without a warrant. The New York City civil rights lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. believe that the city’s residents are best served if they understand the circumstances when police do not need a warrant to enter a house.
Q: What Is Considered Police Brutality?
A: Police officers are expected to use reasonable force when it is required– and “reasonable” is the keyword. When police officers use excessive force when making an arrest or in the course of their responsibilities, that is usually police brutality.
Q: How Do I Sue the NYPD?
A: Overreach by a law enforcement official does not need to result in death or serious injury for police conduct to be actionable. Particularly in New York, the police operate under strict orders and limitations on what they can and cannot do to detain and treat suspects. When an officer exceeds those limits, and an individual suffers a physical, emotional, or psychological injury, they may have good cause to sue the NYPD.
Q: How Do I Sue Police for Harassment?
A: The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects everyone from unreasonable searches and seizures. That Amendment specifically places limits on police conduct. Police do occasionally cross that line, however, leading an individual to inquire whether and how he or she can sue the police for harassment.