Columbus Malicious Prosecution Attorneys

Civilians are protected from being wrongly deprived of their freedom by the 14th Amendment. When someone acting under the authority of the state violates these protections, he or she can be held legally accountable under federal law. One of the most common examples of a police officer or other government official violating these rights is malicious prosecution, where a person is arrested without probable cause and is then prosecuted in court. Criminal prosecutions can take an enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll on victims, so if you have been the victim of malicious prosecution, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced civil rights attorney who can explain your next steps.

Federal Law

Under federal law, a person who deprives someone else of their constitutional or legal rights can be held liable. If this happens, individuals may bring a federal claim for malicious prosecution, which requires them to establish that:

  • The defendant in the civil claim had commenced a criminal proceeding against the victim;
  • The criminal proceeding resulted in a dismissal or a not-guilty verdict.
  • There was no probable cause to make the arrest; and
  • The proceeding was brought with malice towards the victim.

Certain types of pleas, such as guilty pleas and no contest pleas will likely forfeit all of a person’s claims to malicious prosecution, unlawful imprisonment, and unlawful arrest.

Remedies

Even when an individual is not convicted, being the victim of malicious prosecution can have devastating effects. For this reason, if a plaintiff is able to establish all of the elements of malicious prosecution, he or she may be able to collect both compensatory and punitive damages. This could include lost wages, additional domestic costs, and the pain and suffering endured as a result of the false charges. In many cases, plaintiffs are also able to collect attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Contact an Experienced Civil Rights Attorney

It is unlawful for anyone acting under the authority of state law to rob civilians of their constitutional rights. Federal law allows victims to prosecute offenders in court, where they can be awarded damages. Malicious prosecution cases are difficult to prove, making it especially important for victims of government or police injustice to obtain experienced advice. If you live in Ohio and believe that you have been the victim of malicious prosecution, please contact the legal team at Marshall & Forman, LLC and speak to a experienced civil rights attorney.