I was charged and arrested on a false police report and looking to sue the accuser. I was told not to proceed for civil damages until I conclude the criminal portion against me. However the courts are backed up and the criminal case my not go to trial for some time.
Family Law Attorney
I agree with the answer above. I write separately to emphasize a few points.
First of all, the reasons that you shouldn't file any civil actions in this matter until the criminal charges are resolved are as follows. First, in order to attempt such a case, you would have to make sworn statements to the court, about those events. These statements could be used to impeach you in the criminal matter. Second, the defendants could ask you, on cross-examination, "Isn't it true that you're currently facing criminal charges for these things?" which would be pretty devastating to a case. If you are ultimately convicted on the criminal charges, then the court would be precluded from finding in your favor in the civil case, and you could be ordered to pay the defendants' attorney fees, on top of everything else. Even if you aren't convicted, the mere fact that the police took the accusation seriously is evidence that the defendants' statements weren't necessarily spurious. It's not airtight evidence of that, of course - people can and do make false accusations, and the police may take them seriously - but it would be a point you'd have to overcome.
Second, even if you are acquitted on all charges, you should be aware that defamation suits are very difficult to win. You'd have to prove not only that all the statements made were false, but that the defendants knew they were false, and that you suffered a specific harm as a result. It's the 'knew they were false' part that can be hard.
Again, these cases do happen. But they're not easy, and not common. You really must focus on the criminal case first.
Nothing posted on this site is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. Jay Bodzin Northwest Law Office 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J Portland, OR 97201 Telephone: 503-227-0965 Facsimile: 503-345-0926 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.northwestlawoffice.com