Can I Sue the Prosecution for Filing Charges Against Me?

By , Attorney (UC Law San Francisco)

Most people who believe they've been wrongly accused of a crime want to know what recourses are available. Many aren't satisfied by purging records related to arrest and prosecution—they want to know whom they can sue. (For information on handling the aftermath of arrest, prosecution, and conviction, see Consequences of Conviction, Factual Innocence, and Expungement or Sealing an Adult Criminal Record.)

Although it's possible, prevailing in a "malicious prosecution" or similar lawsuit against a district attorney or equivalent government lawyer for the act of filing charges is usually a tall task. A criminal defendant turned civil plaintiff must typically prove outrageous conduct by the lawyer(s) in question. For what's needed to win a malicious prosecution suit, see Suing For Damages: Malicious Prosecution.

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