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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 115462
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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I was arrested at the scene of a car accident from the back

Customer Question

I was arrested at the scene of a car accident from the back of an ambulance for driving with suspended priveledges in New York City - I am a NJ resident. The police officer at the time was vague on the charges - he told I could go to the hospital handcuffed or to the precinct. He placed two sets of handcuffs on me. Long story short - I had my second court appearance - the charges were dropped for lack of evidence and the file sealed. The NY DMV clearly made an error as I have lived at the same NJ address for 15 years - and they sent me mail here - but sent the DRA notices to an address in NY from 15 years ago. I feel that the police officer was much too aggressive and this has caused me from gaining employment (I am recovering from cancer and had been going to my doctor in NY at the time - having a misdeamenor charge does not fair well in filling out job applications - and I had to report this to NYDOS as I am a real estate broker. I had to hire a lawyer (per legal aide who were incredibly nice "you are a married woman from the suburbs with a nice house" and therefore not indigent. I found the entire experience very traumatic - and wish to know if I have a case. I was held for 5 hours and told I was going to be sent to Rikers if they could not process me or found anything else (Christmas Tree lighting in Rock Center - they were called down as protesters were expected due to Staten Island police brutality)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only. The police officer, as long as they were in good faith relying on the computer information they had, is immune from any civil liability pursuant to NY State laws (qualified immunity). The NY Qualified Immunity law requires that in order to sue the officer for this, that the officer acted in a grossly negligent manner and not merely ordinary negligence, in arresting you and if they relied on the computer information provided to them and that is what they had available, they could not be found to be grossly negligent. If the charges were dismissed, then you do not have to disclose the arrest to anyone. The only thing that you have to disclose to anyone is convictions in most all cases. The fact that it was sealed also means that it would not be disclosed to anyone who does a record check, as the case was dismissed and you were never convicted of anything.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The officer knew at the time of the arrest from my NJ license that the DRA was sent to the wrong address - the address in New York - I feel that in fact two sets of handcuffs were unnecessary - his information came from some sort of database that indicated the DRA but also indicated my correct address - they stated at the time that the notices were sent to my New York address. I was in the back of an ambulance -- none of this was necessary
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. The fact that the notice was sent to another address is not proof your suspension was not valid though. The officer would have to be shown to know the suspension itself was invalid and they charged you anyhow. Only DMV or the court can declare the suspension invalid, not the police. So your case could actually be against DMV for not properly sending the DRA to the proper address when they HAD the correct address, but not against the officer for their conduct. You need to explore suing DMV for not sending the notice to the proper address which you can show they had on file.

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