What is Malicious Prosecution?
Being wrongly accused in a criminal matter is an extremely stressful experience. In addition to the financial burden of hiring a lawyer to defend oneself and the lost wages resulting from having to miss work to attend court hearings or depositions, falsely accused individuals often experience emotional distress during this difficult time. Under certain circumstances, these individuals can seek compensation from their accusers by filing a malicious prosecution lawsuit.
Intentionally Filing False Charges
When a party intentionally files a false criminal claim against an individual for purpose of intimidation, harassment, or defamation, malicious prosecution has taken place. When the initiation or continuation of the false charge involves law enforcement offices, the resultant malicious prosecution violates the victim’s civil rights. Some common circumstances which may result in malicious prosecution claims include employers’ intentionally providing false information to a prosecutor about their employees, the intentional filing of false criminal claims in the course of debt collection, and improper securing of an arrest warrant based on a police officer’s perjured evidence. Illegal suppression of evidence tending to show the accused’s innocence is a major cause of malicious prosecution.
Proving Malicious Prosecution
Simply accusing another person of a crime or wrongful act alone will not constitute malicious prosecution under the laws of most states. To bring a successful malicious prosecution claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that a criminal proceeding was filed against him or her by or with the participation of the defendant, without probable cause or reasonable grounds, and was done with a malicious intent such as to harass or intimate the plaintiff. The plaintiff must also prove they were successful in the underlying matter based on the merits and that the case was terminated.
Victims of malicious prosecution can be entitled to the following compensation:
- Lost wages
- Attorney’s fees, court costs, and other legal expenses
- Other quantifiable monetary losses
- Pain and suffering
- Damaged reputation damages
- Loss of future earnings potential
- Other compensatory damages
Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyers at Williams Cedar Help Victims of Malicious Prosecution Obtain Compensation
If you or a loved one was falsely accused in a criminal or civil matter, the experienced Philadelphia civil rights lawyers at Williams Cedar are here to help. Our dedicated attorneys understand the financial and emotional stress resulting from being the victim of false accusations and will work tirelessly to obtain justice for individuals who experienced malicious prosecution. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey to serve victims of malicious prosecution throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and nationwide. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 215-557-0099 or contact us online.