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What is Malicious Prosecution?

What is Malicious Prosecution?

Being the subject of a criminal or civil case can be overwhelming, stressful, and financially draining. Hiring a defense attorney can come with substantial legal fees and the impact on a person’s reputation can be forever tarnished no matter if the allegations are true or false. Even cases that lack sufficient evidence can cost the defendant valuable time and money. Occasionally a lawsuit may be filed by an individual and a prosecutor that isn’t just a baseless claim, but instead an attempt to harass, vilify, defame, or intimidate another person. This is referred to as malicious prosecution.
 

Definition of Malicious Prosecution:

Malicious prosecution is a tort, meaning an individual has suffered an infringement of their rights or a wrongful act by another person or entity. The definition of malicious prosecution as it pertains to Georgia criminal law is a “criminal prosecution which is carried on maliciously and without probable cause.” Malicious prosecution can also pertain to civil suits in which a person is pursuing a baseless lawsuit with no substantial evidence for the sole purpose of harming the defendant either personally, professionally, or financially.
 

Why Would Someone Maliciously Prosecute?

Malicious prosecution implies the prosecution, and their party, filed bogus criminal charges or a civil claim with malicious intent. A few examples of when this may occur are:
 

  • An individual wants to harass the defendant for personal reasons
  • A corporation is trying to intimidate a competing company
  • A police officer misuses the judicial system to gain a desired outcome

Elements of Proof for Malicious Prosecution:

In order to prove malicious prosecution, it’s crucial to work with an attorney who is well versed in these types of cases. Given their complexity and the need for four different elements of proof, a malicious prosecution attorney can greatly enhance an individual’s chance for winning this type of lawsuit. In order to win a malicious prosecution claim, the following four elements must be proven by the plaintiff:
 

  1. The initial case was dismissed in favor of the plaintiff
  • In a criminal case this means the case had to have been dismissed, rejected by the Grand Jury, abandoned by the prosecutor, or found to be in favor of the accused
  • In a civil suit, the original defendant must have won at trial or the case was disposed.
  1. The defendant was actively involved in the original case
  • The plaintiff must prove the defendant was actively pursuing the original case rather than just being a participant in the proceedings. Witnesses are immune to malicious prosecution and false testimony is not strong enough grounds for a case.
  1. There was no probable cause for the defendant to pursue the original case
  • The plaintiff must prove the defendant didn’t genuinely believe the plaintiff was guilty in the initial case.
  1. The defendant continued to pursue the original case with malicious intent
  • The plaintiff must prove the defendant initiated and continued the previous proceedings with malicious intent.

Damages in a Malicious Prosecution Case

In the event of a malicious prosecution case, the plaintiff can be awarded compensation from the defendant for punitive damages, as well as injuries to their well-being. For a civil suit, these injuries can include economic loss from mounting legal fees and time off work, harm to their reputation, harm to their credit, humiliation, and mental suffering. In a malicious prosecution case brought forth from an original criminal case, the aforementioned injuries can be taken into account along with loss of time, health deterioration, and deprivation from society and loved ones.
 
If an individual in Georgia, has suffered emotionally, mentally, or financially due to malicious prosecution, they can file a claim and go after damages. If a person filed a civil claim or criminal charges against them in order to humiliate, intimidate, or harm them in another way, they may be entitled to compensation for damages and should call a skilled Georgia malicious prosecution attorney for guidance.

At Kaufman Law, P.C., we are passionate about protecting the rights of injured individuals. If you were recently injured in a negligence-related accident, turn to our reputable attorneys for the support you need during this difficult time. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys work diligently to secure maximum compensation so that our clients can move on with their lives without experiencing financial strain as a result of their injuries. Should you decide to be represented by our firm, you can feel peace of mind in knowing you have enlisted the services of a reputable and caring law firm.

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