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Can you press charges against someone for making false accusations?

South Bend, IN |

A person I know is going around telling people false things about me including the police. Can I press charges against this person? they have no proof in what they are saying about me.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    Based on your brief statement of facts, you may have a civil claim for “defamation” against the person who is “making false accusations” about you, although your attorney would need more information before competently deciding whether you have a case.

    In Washington State, when someone makes a false statement to another person and this causes harm to that person’s reputation and good name, the law calls this “defamation.” There are two types of defamation, slander (spoken) and libel (written).

    There are various defenses to defamation. If a complete defense applies, it means the plaintiff (aggrieved party) cannot recover against the defendant (allegedly at-fault party). In Washington State, there are two commonly recognized defenses to defamation: “truth” and “mere opinion.” Here, people are allowed to speak the truth or express their opinions, as long as they do so in a way that does not imply to a reasonable person the existence of underlying facts.

    As a potential plaintiff in a civil action, you have the burden of proving each part of your defamation case on a more likely than not basis. Even if you are successful in proving that someone made false statements about you to another person, you still do not have a case until you allege and prove that these false statements actually caused you a specific type of harm.

    While, generally speaking, a plaintiff in a defamation action must prove that the defamation caused them to suffer from a specific type of harm, there are certain instances where Washington State Courts will assume the fact (but not extent) of damages if the false statement made to another person contains allegations that the Plaintiff had a loathsome disease, engaged in sexual misconduct, committed a serious felony, or engaged in shady business practices.

    If the defendant makes harmful and false accusations to law enforcement and this leads to the institution of unjustifiable criminal proceedings against you, and if these proceedings are terminated in your favor and brought with malice and without probable cause, you could also have a claim for “Malicious Criminal Prosecution.”

    As with any legal matter, you should strongly consider consulting with an attorney in your state before the Statute of Limitations (SOL) runs out on your claim(s). In Washington State, the SOL for oral defamation is two years; the SOL in your state may be different, so you or your attorney should determine what the SOL is in your state.

    Note: I am not your attorney and the above answer is not a substitute for legal advice. As with any legal matter, you are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel from an attorney licensed in your state.

  2. Under Indiana law words to a third person, whether written (libel) or orally (slander) which impute to another the commission of a crime or tend to injure another in his profession or business are known as per se slander or libel and do not required proof of any special damages (that is, damages are presumed).

    I would be happy to discuss your specific case in more detail at no cost to you.

  3. It depends on what they're saying. If they're saying you committed a crime and that's false, it may be actionable. If it was a complaint to the police, it's a crime.

    I'd suggest you contact an Indiana lawyer to discuss this. Slander is a tricky field of law, with strict rules and possibly a short statute of limitations.


  4. On the prosecutor can press criminal charges but your my file a civil action for defemation of charactor. Talk to a local attorny that deals with defemation and slander and then decide your action.

    NOTE: These above statement is an opinion based upon the facts given in a question and should not be seen as legal advise. To obtain legal advise consult with an attorney of your choosing.