When a claim or charge is filed without probable cause and for an improper purpose, such as intimidation, ill will, or harassment, the defendant may be able to seek damages from the plaintiff or prosecutor by means of a malicious prosecution lawsuit. Below, the New York City-based criminal defense lawyers from Myers, Singer & Galiardo offer a brief overview of this kind of suit.
The Basics of Malicious Prosecution
A defendant in a civil or criminal case may bring a malicious prosecution lawsuit when the plaintiff or prosecutor has knowingly pursued baseless litigation against them. The difference between the lawsuits brought in response to a civil or criminal action is based on evidence. For instance, in a claim brought in response to a malicious civil action, the defendant (now the plaintiff) must provide evidence of quantifiable damages, such as financial losses. However, in a civil suit brought in response to criminal charges, the defendant need only claim mental suffering.
Elements of Malicious Prosecution
To win a malicious prosecution lawsuit, the defendant or their criminal defense lawyer must prove a particular set of elements:
- Termination/Dismissal: The original case or charges were terminated or dismissed in the defendant’s favor. A malicious prosecution claim cannot be brought until the previous case has ended.
- Liability: The plaintiff or prosecutor (now the defendant) was responsible for filing the original case or charges. If the defendant (now the plaintiff) is unable to prove active involvement on the part of the plaintiff or prosecutor, the case will be thrown out.
- Absence of Probable Cause: The original case or charges were lacking probable cause. It must be proven the original plaintiff or prosecutor did not actually believe in the guilt of the defendant.
- Abusive Purpose: The original plaintiff or prosecutor brought the claim or charges for an improper purpose. The defendant must present evidence proving ill will or intent to harm on behalf of the opposing party.
If you believe you have been unfairly targeted in a criminal or civil case, a criminal defense lawyer from Myers, Singer & Galiardo is available to help. Their attorneys have you covered for the aggressive, compassionate, and professional representation you need to obtain the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve. Free consultations are available. Contact the practice online, or call (212) 986-5900 to speak with an attorney directly.