malicious prosecution is “an action for damages brought by one against whom a civil suit
or criminal proceeding has been unsuccessfully commenced without probable
cause and for a purpose other than that of bringing the alleged offender
to justice.” In plain terms, it is a case filed against a person
who accused someone of something in the court of law with baseless and
malicious litigation.It exists to protect you from any malicious legal
action that is initiated without probable cause or for the sake of harassing you.
There are four main elements that must be proven by the plaintiff in order
to prove the defendant maliciously litigated against you.
- The original case was terminated in favor of the plaintiff
This is the most straight-forward element. The initial case in question
must be over and the (now) plaintiff must be proven innocent in a court
of law for the charges claimed to be malicious and baseless.
- The defendant played an active role in the original case
This does not include false witnesses on the stand. As a part of the civil
and criminal court practice, a witness should not fear being charged for
defamation each time they take the stand. Instead, the plaintiff claims
that the prosecutor and/or plaintiff knew that the litigation was baseless
but continued the civil lawsuit or criminal accusations anyway. If a prosecutor
was tricked into making such malicious actions, he or she would not be
held accountable for the actions and all responsibility would fall onto
the original plaintiff.
- The defendant did not have probable cause or reasonable grounds to support
the original case
During this process of proof, the court reviews all sources reviewed and
considered during the litigation process of the initial case, including
the effort put in by both sides to find truthful resources, or lack of
opportunity given to the defendant to explain their case. In a criminal
case, this is usually easier to prove because criminal law requires proof
of probable cause and will not go to court otherwise – so if the
case never went to court, the plaintiff will have a better chance of charging
someone with malicious prosecution.
- The defendant initiated or continued the initial case with an improper purpose.
This element dives into the relationship between the plaintiff and the
defendant. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant had ill will or
resentment toward the plaintiff during or before the initial case. The
motivation can be proven through inference since the defendant usually
will not openly admit to intentionally litigating with improper purpose.
One last thing to remember is that a malicious prosecution suit is not
necessarily the answer to your original trial anyway. If you were the
victim of, for example, false imprisonment or false evidence, you may
be better of suing based on allegations of an unfair trial rather than
Malicious prosecution is a legal action that can represent both civil and
criminal law. The Kyle Law Firm attorneys are professionally trained in
both types of law, so whatever your situation, our highly experienced
Texas attorneys will always fight to make sure your rights are protected.
If you live in the
New Braunfels or
Seguin, Texas areas, contact Kyle Law Firm for a free consultation.