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After acquittal, can i sue the city/ accuser for damages?

Tallahassee, FL |

a mad ex girlfriend and poor police investigations led to my arrest. i sat in jail, years later i was acquitted of the charges. i lost everything, who will compensate me for my lost? i lost my job, house, etc. ex girlfriend lied to the police they did not do any investigations, if they had, i would not have been arrested. any advice?

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Attorney answers 4


Go speak to a civil rights attonrey and discuss whether you have a viable case.


Sounds like a case of wrongful imprisonment under 42 USC 1983. 1983 actions are when you sue a state official (police, state, dept. of corrections, DA's, etc.) for causing a violation of your civil liberties - in this case your freedom.

Since it is very difficult to give you a full evaluation with the limited info you provided, I suggest you speak with a local civil rights attorney, someone who has experience in federal court.


It is very difficult to prevail in a case such as yours. Many people are found not guilty which means that the jury did not believe that guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but that does not necessarily mean the person was innocent. In order to prevail, you would have to prove not only that you were innocent but that the parties involved knew or should have known you were innocent. Obviously, this is difficult to do. A lot of cases are "he said, she said," and it is possible for a jury to find a person guilty simply based on a single person's testimony. This is not to say that you can't win a lawsuit, but it is very difficult. Speak in person with a local lawyer who handles lawsuits for civil rights violations and go over all of the specific details of your case. Good luck!

This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.


As the other attorneys have stated, you may have a civil rights or malicious prosecution case depending on your facts. Florida also has a statute, which I have linked below, that provides for compensation for persons in your situation. Among other things, the statute provides for payment of $50,000 for each year of incarceration, as well as fines, court costs, and reasonable attorneys fees, and up to 120 credit hours of free study at any Florida public education institution you can get into, as well as certain non-monetary items. Generally compensation may not exceed two million dollars, and there are some limiting factors. The statute also limits your rights to seek compensation under the statute and sue at the same time.

Whether to go for statutory compensation or sue is a decision that you should make only after consulting with an attorney. If you would like a free consultation, please feel free to call me at 850-778-1355.

My response to this question does not mean I agree to represent you in any proceedings. This information is also not subject to attorney-client privilege.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith


My apologies- I misread your statements. I understood you as saying that you were wrongfully convicted and then that conviction was set aside. If you were never convicted, than you are not eligible for the statutory compensation I outlined in my first comment. Nonetheless, you may still have a case for a civil rights violation, or for malicious prosecution against your accuser.

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