A police officer cannot arrest you unless there is a warrant for your arrest or the officer had probable cause to believe you committed a crime. If you have been arrested without a warrant and without probable cause, your civil rights may have been violated and you may have a lawsuit against the cop.
If a police officer has detained you, even for a short time, you have been arrested. Even if the officer holds you on the street for a few minutes without probable cause and then releases you, you may have a false arrest lawsuit. Of course, if you are taken to the precinct without a warrant or probable cause, “booked,” and sent to Central Booking to see a judge, you may have a false arrest claim. But you may also have a false arrest claim if you are:
Detained by cops and released without going to the precinct;
Taken to the precinct and released from the precinct; or
Taken to Central Booking and released without charges before you see a judge.
Know your rights.