Being arrested and accused of a crime can be a demoralizing experience, and some arrests and crimes are worse than others. If you were innocent of the crime, you will be left to try and explain your circumstances to family, friends and coworkers -- and your reputation could be permanently damaged.
Fortunately, in most cases of false arrest or inappropriate criminal charges, defendants can stand up for their rights in court and present a viable criminal defense. Defendants can get "not guilty" verdicts or have the prosecution dismiss their charges. Once a case like this has come to a close, however, and you have achieved your ''not guilty'' verdict, you might want to look at the facts surrounding your case to determine if you have a claim for malicious prosecution.
To prevail in a malicious prosecution claim, you'll need to prove the following:
- A police officer initiated criminal charges against you.
- You achieved a verdict of not guilty or the case ended without a conviction against you.
- No probable cause existed to arrest or accuse you of the crime.
- The officer initiated charges or a search and seizure out of malice.
You never know whether a police officer will like the way you look, be biased against your race or respect you as a person. If an officer takes offense to you, he or she might initiate the criminal process against you out of malice and for no viable reason. If you've been the victim of a malicious prosecution like this, you might want to look into your legal right to pursue financial damages.