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Do you have the right to sue a department store for a false arrest if you have received an ACD in the criminal court case?

New York, NY |

After an arrest for petty larceny, the defendant received an ACD, which will have the case dismissed in 6 months if the defendant stays out of trouble and performs 6 days of community service. The defendant believes he was accused due to a misunderstanding.

Attorney Answers 3


No, you would not have a claim for false arrest. Although you may believe that you arrest and prosecution was a misunderstanding, a shopkeeper has the right to detain someone suspected of shoplifting for a "reasonable" amount of time to investigate. Since your case was prosecuted, you accepted an ACD and are required to perform community service, you do not have a claim for false imprisonment.

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There is mixed case law on this. The First Department says that an ACD bars a false arrest case while the Court of Appeals, NY's highest court, says it doesn't. Even if you can proceed 6 days community service looks bad for you . In addition General Business Law section 218 likely provides the store ad defense.

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I agree with Mr Rothstein, and to the degree it represents an absolute opinion, disagree with Mr Lipps. The issue isn't merely whether you've received an ACD or not (though if you were found guilty, you certainly wouldn't have a claim). The issue is whether the store had "reasonable suspicion" to detain you in the first place. As an aside, this would NOT be a "civil rights" case unless it involved a police officer who detained you. In any event, schedule a consultation with a NYC civil litigation attorney for a full assessment.

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