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Malicious Prosecution Laws

Malicious prosecution is tort action filed in the civil case where a person’s behavior may have unfairly caused loss or harm to another. Some jurisdictions apply it in the case of wrongful initiation of criminal proceedings. For a tort case to be successful, the act should have been committed intentionally and maliciously; filed without credible cause; and ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Below, Legal Experts respond to questions on laws related to malicious prosecution.

Do I have a claim for malicious prosecution and abuse of process if one of the accusers lied in the police testimony? Isn’t this perjury?

You can bring a case of malicious prosecution only if the district attorney intentionally and maliciously prosecuted you for a case without a probable cause. In your case, you may not be able to pursue such a case if the criminal case was based on actual acts committed.

It follows that you do not have a case for Abuse of Process as court and criminal process was not abused by the police department or the District Attorney.

You may initiate a civil suit against the third party for intentionally lying in their police testimony. This may, however, be tough to prove. Such cases are both time-consuming and cost money to follow through.

A lawsuit brought against me was dismissed for failure of the plaintiff to appear in court. Can I sue the attorney for malicious prosecution?

You may not sue the plaintiff’s attorney, but you may have a case to sue the plaintiff himself. The plaintiff not showing up in court is not enough to prove that he lacked probable cause. However, if the original case lacked probable cause, you may have a case.

Can someone sue; a prosecuting attorney, the police department, a college or the department of corrections for malicious prosecution?

In most situations, a malicious prosecution case cannot be filed against police, department of corrections or the prosecutor. These departments are immune as, typically, persons prosecuted for criminal charges — even those who are found guilty and later exonerated — do not have a viable action for malicious prosecution.

Also, if the college, or anyone in the college, reported your action to the police, that accusation too is protected and immune. Again, you will not be able to sue.

In California, can someone file a malicious prosecution case against the residing city, if an investigation was not conducted on the cities behalf, to prove if false charges were brought due to neighbors falsely accusing my dog of barking?

 You will not be able to pursue a case for a malicious prosecution as the City Department is only following procedure based on complaints received. However, you may file harassment charges against your neighbor where you have summons served on him/her for a court date. If your neighbors conduct has been continuous course of action of unfounded complaints causing you annoyance, you will have a case of harassment against your neighbor under the California law. It may be sensible to send a written letter to your neighbor advising that you will file criminal charges if the harassment does not stop. Obtain the receipt from the post office once the mail is delivered so that you may produce this as evidence during your hearing.

A legal action for malicious prosecution need not be limited to criminal prosecutions and may even be brought in response to any baseless and malicious civil litigation or prosecution as well. The plaintiff may claim damages for certain injuries including humiliation, loss of reputation, mental suffering, etc. The plaintiff is also entitled to economic losses suffered as well as punitive damages. To know more about filing a case of malicious prosecution, you may need to ask an Expert.
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