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S. Huband, Esq.
S. Huband, Esq., Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1628
Experience:  Experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
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2 years ago my mothers home health aid falsely accused me of

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2 years ago my mothers home health aid falsely accused me of menacing. she initially lied to the cops and said I waved a knife in her face, and then the cops said oh yea, wheres the knife because if your lying well put you in jail so she changed her story that I threatened her with my guitar when in reality the only thing I did was call her the "n" word and to get out of my house after she entered without knocking. the case was reduced to a disorderly conduct ticket and was dismissed. can I now sue her civilly for the 3 months in jail I did, fines and so on and what grounds would that be. would it be false imprisonment
Thank you for the opportunity to assist you. I'd like some additional information so that I can most accurately answer your question.

Q) The case was reduced to a disorderly conduct ticket and was dismissed.

How was it reduced? This is a potentially critical issue. Was it reduced because you entered into a plea agreement? Did you ever enter any plea other than not guilty? Did the case go to trial, get knocked down to disorderly conduct during trial, and THEN get tossed out (dismissed) by the judge, etc.? How exactly did you get to that point?

Thanks for your help. I'll respond as quickly as I can once I get your answer. Thanks,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

we never went to trial. I never pled guilty to the menacing charge. all I know is that after a year of going to court I plead guilty to disorderly conduct

Thanks for the update. I appreciate your patience.

Based on the additional information you've provided, I have bad news. I wish I could come up with a great solution to this dilemma, but I don't think the law is on your side in this situation.

Q) Can I now sue her civilly for the 3 months in jail I did, fines, etc.? What grounds would that be? Would it be false imprisonment?

Let's look at the causes of action which could possibly apply:

1. Defamation - This is a false statement by another person either orally (slander) or in writing (libel) which damages the reputation of the person defamed. Truth is a defense to defamation. The fact that you were found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to a related charge would be used against you to say that you DID, in fact, do something wrong.

The usual standard for proving someone is liable (i.e. civilly guilty) in a civil lawsuit is proof "by a preponderance of the evidence." This legal standard is lower or less stringent than proof of "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the standard used in a criminal case. So, the court will likely see your conviction for the related charge and believe that the "truth" of your guilt has already been proven at a much higher standard of proof than what is required for a civil case.

Finally, the statute of limitations in NY for defamation is one year. Since this issue arose more than one year ago, too much time has passed.

2. Malicious prosecution - This means pursuing a legal action against someone when the prosecution is brought without probable cause and which is eventually dismissed in the favor of the accused. If you eventually plead guilty to a related charge (disorderly conduct) as a compromise to the original charge of menacing, then that more than passes the probable cause test. Obviously, a finding of guilt is not a dismissal. Thus, malicious prosecution does not apply.

In addition, you're out of time on this one, as well. The same one year statute of limitations cited above applies here as it did for defamation.

3. False imprisonment - I understand your logic here - that this woman falsely accused you and thus you were imprisoned because of it. But false imprisonment doesn't apply.

False imprisonment occurs when a person is unlawfully held against their will by someone else. If I locked you in a room and you couldn't get out, or I held a gun in your face so you couldn't leave, that could be false imprisonment. You would be suing ME for falsely imprisoning you.

This nurse or medical aid person didn't imprison you; the state of NY did. NY probably acted lawfully because of a warrant for your arrest on some type of charge. The warrant, which only requires proof of probable cause, was probably valid since it eventually led to a finding of guilt later, even though the later finding of guilt was for a reduced charge.

And, I hate to sound like a broken record, but you're out of time on this one too. The same one year statute of limitations cited above applies here as it did for defamation and malicious prosecution.

I'm sorry I couldn't come up with a better solution for you. It's my job to provide you with the most accurate and honest response I can. It woulnd't hurt to run this scenario by a NY licensed attorney who is familiar with these types of civil suits to get their take on it. But I doubt you've got much going for you in this scenario.

Even though I couldn't get you the answers you wanted, I do hope my response has been helpful in explaining why. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.

Take care,
S. Huband, Esq. and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello again,

I was notified that you rated the answer I gave positively, and I am very pleased and gratified that I was able to help you. I sincerely hope the matter(s) we discussed turn out well for you.

Please ask for me in the future if you have additional questions or concerns. Thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you.

Take care,