Skip to main content

Can I sue for False Arrest on shoplifting.

Bronx, NY |

I was arrested for shoplifting two months ago after going out with friends who shoplifted. I was unaware of their actions but was arrested and charged also. A legal aid lawyer assisted me in getting the charges dropped so my question now is whether or not i can sue. I was pregnant with twins and had a miscarriage due to the stress from the case. They kept me in the cell for hours because i had refused to sign papers even after telling them I was pregnant without any food or beverage. I have suffered so much my baby father and i would like to know if we have a case we have invested a lot already in our unborn kids.

the case was dismissed not an ACD or any kind of conviction. I was unaware of their actions and did not partake. we did not even enter the dressing room together i had no need to enter the fitting room. i was shopping for my babies at the time. All my items in my bag was paid for and returned to me. It is very ironic that something like this could have happen while shopping for my babies. my doctor was always avoiding me about avoiding stressful situation. Up until the instead i had an healthy pregnancy and have proof to show so. I am young and this was my first pregnancy I am simply tormented. But i would like to understand the lawsuit process before so i can determine if it would be more stressful or not.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Yes. The questions which must be answered affirmatively, assuming your case was dismissed, is was there a basis for your being arrested? Was your detention overdone? Did they refuse to provide necessary care to a pregnant mother ? etc. Assuming they had no legitimate basis for detaining you, the next issues are what if any damage did you suffer. Hre issues such as how long you were kept in detention and what proximate damages occurred. The matter seems ripe for a suit for false arrest and denial of civil rights.


  2. You should definitely speak with a lawyer...this is more of a civil issue, but from the facts you have presented, it is likely that you have a case.


  3. Talk to a civil lawyer immediately. You have 90 days to sue the city and if two months have run, you don't want to lose your claim. You may have a decent case.


  4. These are tricky cases. There is a law that allows a retail store to detain someone suspected of shoplifting. If there is surveillance, I would want to take steps to preserve it as that may be the key to the case. Being merely present when someone else commits a crime is not a crime but I suspect the store will claim that you were acting in concert. Hire a lawyer ASAP and serve a Notice of Claim on the City within 90 days of the incident to preserve your right to sue the City. That said, if there is a case it will likely be against the store. When you say the criminal case was dropped do you mean dismissed or you accepted an ACD?

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 17 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  5. Yes, you have an excellent suit. I've successfully settled suits with far less sympathetic plaintiffs. You have one year to sue the store, which is the liable party, not the police since they were acting on the representations of the security personnel.

    If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.

Criminal defense topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics