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Someone falsely accused me, I went to court and the case was dismissed. Can I sue this person? Would it be criminal or civil?

Denver, CO |
Attorney answers 4


It's a civil matter. Depending on the facts, the claims are malicious prosecution or abuse of process. You don't have enough facts to determine if there is a viable basis to attempt to hold the employer liable.

This answer is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice regarding your question and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


You should meet with an attorney who could evaluate your evidence and help you determine what your legal options are.

You could have claims for malicious prosecution, defamation per se, intentional interference with business contracts, or statutory negligence. You could also have a civil rights claim. If your employer knew the employee was lying about you and encouraged their wrongful conduct, the employer could be vicariously liable for the employee's actions.

Malicious prosecution requires the malicious commencement of a legal action against you without probable cause. If an action against you was commenced based solely on someone else's lies and the case was dismissed, you could have a viable malicious prosecution claim.

Defamation per se can occur when someone falsely accuses you of committing a crime. But there are defenses available to people who file false reports if they believed their false reports were true when they made them.

Intentional interference with business contracts can occur when someone acts wrongfully or illegally, intending to get you fired, and you end up getting fired as a direct result of their wrongful or illegal actions.

Statutory negligence can occur when someone knowingly violates a statute that was designed to protect people from certain types of harmful actions and the violation harms a person that the statute was designed to protect. False reporting is a crime in Colorado. See C.R.S. § 18-8-111. If someone filed a false report about you and you were harmed as a direct result, you could have a statutory negligence claim.

Malicious prosecution can constitute the type of adverse employer action that could give rise to a Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claim. See Berry v. Stevinson Chevrolet, 74 F.3d 980, 986 (10th Cir. 1996).


I am really not in a person to tell you to pursue a civil remedy as you did not give us any details. Yous ay a person faqlsely accused you. Of what? Winning in court does not make the allegations false, it simply means you won in court. If you can share more details about the situation, teh possible remedises could be outlined here. I see what my colleagues mentioned and I agree with their presentations, but I can;t tell if you have any cause.

What does that mean? It means that you need to sit down with a personal injury attorney to discuss the possibilities. Make sure you bring all documentation that you believe supports your position that you were wronged.

Good luck to you.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


First, you cannot file a criminal case, only police and prosecutors can do that, so if you have a case it will be a civil lawsuit.

If you can prove that the person made a maliciously false statement to police indicating that you had committed a crime, you could have a claim for defamation per se. However, you would have to review a lot more details of the case in order to determine if you have a chance to win. Defamation claims are very hard to establish. The falsity of the claims must be proven by clear and convincing evidence and citizens have a qualified privilege to make reports to law enforcement.

Your criminal case was dismissed because the prosecutor did not have evidence to prove that you were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you file a defamation action, the burden will shift to you to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the accusations were false. This is a significant difference. Additionally, you have to prove that the accuser acted with malice and did not believe the report that they gave to police. If they were merely wrong or mistaken, you lose.

As for suing the person’s employer, this will only be viable if the employer actually participated in making the police report or (possibly) if the employee was acting in the course and scope of their duties when they filed the report. Merely being pleased that you were arrested will not be enough for the employer to be liable.

You should have a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in order to discuss the details of your case and to determine what it would take to persue.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

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