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.