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Can You Sue After Charges Are Dropped?

Can You Sue After Charges Are Dropped?

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Can You Sue After Charges Are Dropped?

When a prosecutor files criminal charges without proper justification, they may face civil legal liability. Victims have the right to sue prosecutors for pursuing a case without adequate reason.

This type of civil claim is known as a malicious prosecution case. If you wrongfully faced criminal allegations, can you sue after charges are dropped? In some cases, yes. It is critical to speak with a knowledgeable tort attorney regarding your malicious prosecution case.

Facing criminal charges is a harrowing and scary experience. When innocent people are wrongfully charged, they deserve justice. Fortunately, the accomplished legal professionals at the firm of Morgan and Morgan can help.

Our skilled litigants know what is required to hold unscrupulous prosecutors accountable. Reach out to our capable tort lawyers to begin the process of recovering damages in your case.

Malicious prosecution suits are meant to protect against abuse of the U.S. legal process. Financial damages in these claims are intended to compensate the victim for the harm that they have suffered.

The accomplished legal team at America’s largest tort law firm knows how to handle these cases. Contact the firm of Morgan & Morgan if you have been the victim of malicious prosecution.

Can you sue after charges are dropped? Fill out the contact form on the Morgan and Morgan website to discuss this question with our accomplished legal professionals

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  • What Is A Common Example of Malicious Prosecution?

    Many people are not aware of how or why malicious prosecutions can happen.

    Suppose that a local prosecutor is running for mayor and loses. They believe that a politically active local business owner was responsible for their defeat and decide to retaliate. The prosecutor accuses the business owner of bribing public officials without adequate cause, resulting in a wrongful criminal charge.

    As the prosecutor leads the effort against the business owner, the malicious nature of the prosecution is exposed, and the charges are dropped. In this case, the business owner may have the legal right to pursue a claim for financial damages.

    The prosecutor in this example abused their legal authority. This abuse caused the business owner to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs. Their business may have lost money due to the harm to their reputation.

    Through a malicious prosecution lawsuit, the business owner may be able to recover compensation for these losses. Victims of malicious prosecution deserve to be made whole after they suffer financial and personal harm.

  • How to Prove Malicious Prosecution?

    So can you sue after charges are dropped after a malicious prosecution? Yes. However, proving that a prosecution was malicious can be difficult.

    In most legal claims of this type, the victim must prove the following four elements:

    • The original case was resolved in the victim’s favor (dropped charges)
    • The prosecutor was involved in the case
    • The prosecutor lacked probable cause to file charges
    • The prosecutor pursued the original case maliciously

    An accomplished lawyer will review the facts of your case to determine whether your suit is valid. We will discuss each of these elements in greater detail below:

    The Case Was Resolved in the Victim’s Favor

    The victim must provide evidence that the criminal case ended in their favor. For instance, can you sue after charges are dropped?

    Yes. Dropped charges could make a malicious prosecution claim possible.

    But when a verdict was rendered, it may be more difficult to pursue a civil claim after the fact.

    Before a criminal case can proceed to the trial phase, the court must find probable cause. Therefore, malicious prosecution claims are most likely when the charges are dropped or dismissed.

    The Prosecutor Was Actively Involved in the Case

    The plaintiff in a malicious prosecution claim will need to show that the prosecutor named in the lawsuit was involved in the original case. The victim will need to provide evidence that the prosecutor:

    • Filed the criminal charges
    • Handled the case
    • Supervised other lawyers managing the case

    Any of these three may qualify the victim to pursue a civil claim and meet the standards of “active involvement.”

    Lack of Probable Cause

    To pursue criminal charges legally, prosecutors must have adequate evidence. Enough evidence to file criminal charges is known as “probable cause.”

    Probable cause can be established when a prosecutor has ample evidence to support suspicions that a crime was committed.

    At this point, prosecutors are not required to provide enough evidence to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor only needs enough information to show that there is reason to believe the defendant is guilty. If evidence is lacking, weak, or fabricated, the prosecutor may be liable for malicious prosecution.

    During a malicious prosecution claim, the plaintiff needs to prove that the prosecutor in the original case lacked probable cause. The accomplished attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can help you prove this element of your civil claim.

    Charged for Improper Purposes

    The original criminal case must have been filed for improper purposes to serve as the foundation of a successful malicious prosecution case. The prosecutor cannot be held accountable for a mistake or reasonably relying on false information.

    The plaintiff in a malicious prosecution lawsuit needs to prove that the prosecutor pursued the criminal case for improper purposes.

    It can be very difficult to prove the prosecutor’s intent. When you speak with a skilled litigant at the firm of Morgan and Morgan, we will help you determine whether you can prove the prosecutor’s intent.

  • What Is Prosecutorial Immunity?

    Malicious prosecution cases can be difficult, in part, because of prosecutorial immunity. Laws at the state and federal levels provide law enforcement officials immunity from malicious prosecution liability in many cases.

    Prosecutors qualify for this type of immunity. Prosecutorial immunity is intended to protect public officials from the threat of constant and baseless accusations.

    If prosecutors had to fend off accusations of malicious prosecution each time they brought charges, the system would not work. Still, this immunity is not without limits.

    Suppose that a victim can show that a prosecutor acted outside of their designated authority during a criminal case. In most areas throughout the country, this type of behavior is not covered by prosecutor immunity.

    For instance, imagine that a prosecutor paid a witness to provide false testimony. This action would not qualify for immunity since it is outside the bounds of the prosecutor’s role.

  • What Are Typical Financial Remedies for Malicious Prosecution?

    Being wrongfully prosecuted is an overwhelming and nerve-racking experience. Fortunately, victims of malicious prosecution may be able to recover both compensatory and punitive damages.

    The two categories of compensatory damages are “special” and “general” damages.

    What Are Special Damages?

    This type of financial repayment is intended to compensate malicious prosecution victims for their economic losses.

    Fighting a criminal charge is a very expensive prospect. You should not be stuck with the monetary losses that a dishonest prosecutor caused. Some of the most common examples of this type of compensation include:

    • Attorneys’ fees
    • Court costs
    • Lost earnings
    • Associated childcare costs

    Most people are not aware of the extensive costs associated with criminal courtroom proceedings. To recover special damages through a malicious prosecution case, reach out to the seasoned litigants at the firm of Morgan & Morgan.

    What Are General Damages?

    The other common type of compensatory payment is called “general damages.” These payments are meant to cover the non-economic losses that victims experience.  

    Not all of the losses from being wrongfully prosecuted are monetary. These are some of the most common examples of general damages in malicious prosecution cases:

    • Emotional pain, distress, and anguish
    • Confusion
    • Isolation
    • Bewilderment
    • Psychological harm
    • Damaged reputation
    • Inability to earn future income

    General damages are more likely if the victim suffered a serious criminal allegation. Being formally accused of a crime is emotionally damaging, even if the charges do not proceed to trial.

    What Are Punitive Damages?

    Punitive damages are uncommon in most civil claims. These payments are meant to punish the perpetrator in a tort case.

    But in successful malicious prosecution lawsuits, the defendant has been shown to have improper intent. For that reason, some malicious prosecution victims can recover punitive damages in the case of a successful claim.

  • How Long Do I Have to File a Malicious Prosecution Lawsuit?

    The time limit by which victims of malicious prosecution must file a claim for damages is determined by state law. These time limits are known as the “statutes of limitations.”

    Many states require victims to file a lawsuit within a year of the initial violation. If you have questions regarding the statute of limitations in your state, contact the trustworthy legal team at the firm of Morgan and Morgan.  

    Our attorneys will draft the relevant legal paperwork and file it in time to seek the compensation that you deserve. We will fight diligently to get financial recovery following your wrongful criminal charge.

  • How Does the Firm of Morgan & Morgan Handle Attorneys’ Fees?

    Most reliable tort law firms operate through a contingency fee payment structure. Clients should never have to pay an upfront fee to secure legal services.

    With a contingency approach to attorneys’ fees, the client agrees to a specific percentage of the financial recovery for their case. Only when the case has been favorably resolved does the attorney secure payment.

    In other words, malicious prosecution victims should not pay a single dime in legal fees until their attorney recovers money for them. At the firm of Morgan and Morgan, the fee is free unless we win for you.

    This means that your legal representative will fight diligently to secure the largest amount of compensation possible in your case. If you do not get paid, our attorneys do not get paid.

  • Let the Team at Morgan & Morgan Represent You

    If you have faced an unfounded criminal charge, you may have a valid malicious prosecution case. Let the knowledgeable litigants at Morgan and Morgan assess the status of your case and fight for you.

    Can you sue after charges are dropped in a criminal case? Speak with our attorneys to find out.

    Since our founding, the knowledgeable attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have worked hard to secure justice for victims of wrongful actions. No one deserves to suffer the financial and personal harm that comes from malicious prosecution.

    It is vital to hold untrustworthy prosecutors accountable for their actions. Our skilled legal team will fight diligently to secure every dime of financial damages that you are rightfully due.

    To speak with our knowledgeable malicious prosecution attorneys, complete the simple contact form on the Morgan and Morgan website today. We will happily schedule a no-cost legal consultation for you.

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Last updated on May 01, 2023

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