Criminal Defense Lawyer
Many people who are accused of crimes want to know whether they can file a lawsuit against the person who accused them. Being accused of a crime is incredibly damaging to someone’s life, even if in the end they are acquitted, or the case is dismissed. There is so much harm that is done simply by forcing someone to go through the process of an accusation, that many times the person who is accused wants to look for a way to recover from the process as best they can.
The short answer is yes, you can sue someone who has falsely accused you of a crime. Filing a lawsuit is pretty easy – just about anybody can figure out how to do it. The better question is whether you can be successful in suing someone who falsely accused you, getting a judgment against them, and collecting on the judgment.
That’s a more difficult question. In most cases, no, you won’t be successful in a lawsuit.
First, you have to look at whether the person you are seeking to sue is even collectible. If everything went perfectly and you got a judgment against this person, do they have two pennies to rub together? How are they going to pay a judgment? So many times, people don’t consider this factor. They are so angry about wanting to sue the person who put them through hell that they fail to consider that even in the best-case scenario, they are never going to collect on any judgment that they obtain.
If the person you wish to sue is in fact collectible, then you have to consider whether there is actual likelihood of success. The likelihood of success in this type of lawsuit is extremely limited. The burden of proof in a civil case is different than that of a criminal case. This means that, even if it was decided that you weren’t guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, in a civil suit, the accuser could argue that you were in fact guilty, but there just wasn’t enough evidence to prove that in a criminal case. In a civil case, the burden is preponderance of the evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to prove that someone lied about you committing a crime, you would need very solid evidence that the person intentionally lied about you, such as an admission.
If the person that you want to sue is a police officer, it’s possible that you may have a viable lawsuit if your constitutional rights were violated during the course of an arrest or prosecution. If this is the case, you’ll want to speak to a civil rights attorney to discuss the matter in more detail.
Unfortunately, judges and prosecutors who are involved in cases where false allegations are prosecuted are given immunity from lawsuits in almost all cases, though there are some rare exceptions. It is unlikely, however, that you will be able to sue a judge or prosecutor involved in your prosecution.
If you have questions about filing a lawsuit for a wrongful prosecution, contact experienced criminal defense lawyers today.