If you are cleared of the charges, you can attempt a suit against the store. The question would be what amount of damages would be appropriate based on the three or four hours you spent in a precinct waiting for your DAT. It might be worth exploring the issue with a civil attorney if you are successful in the criminal matter. Good luck.
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You should focus on the criminal case first. Your "admission" undermines a civil lawsuit as does a statute that gives stores immunity in cases like this if they have a reasonable basis to think you are stealing.
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First fight the charge, win and then consider a lawsuit.
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Even if you were to get the criminal charges dismissed, I'm not sure you will find any attorney to bring a wrongful arrest suit where you admitted to the security officer that you did what they accused you of. The admission alone is not likely enough to convict you in the criminal case but you may want to to rethink a strategy that admits to a crime because you're in a hurry. I would hire a criminal attorney to represent you so things do not get worse. If you are convicted of a crime in New York, there is no mechanism to have that record expunged at a later date.
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The police always advise you of your right to remain silent for a reason. Never admit to anything that you HAVE NOT DONE.
Concentrate on the outcome of the criminal matter. With the outcome of the criminal matter in your favor, ask your criminal attorney if he or she is familiar with another attorney who handles wrongful imprisonment cases. Most criminal attorneys know of someone that could help.
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I handle both criminal defense and wrongful arrest cases. As my colleagues have stated, because you stated to security that you switched the tags, because you were detained for a short period of time, because you didn't have property wrongfully seized from you for an extended period of time, because you did not lose your job over this incident, etc you likely do not have a claim to sue Century 21.
That being said, you will want to minimize the effects of the DAT. I've handled these types of cases (where someone is wrongfully accused of shoplifting) in the past and had excellent outcomes. Since you confessed (regardless of the veracity of the confession), I recommend getting an attorney who can fight the underlying assumption of guilt.
Good luck with the criminal case.Ask a similar question