Malicious Prosecution Lawyer in Chicago, IL

Most lawsuits come about after someone suffers injuries or damages due to the actions of another person. These lawsuits seek to make the victim “whole” again through compensation. However, not everyone utilizes the law in a proper fashion. Some people file lawsuits against others or prosecute them to make the defendant’s life difficult, or for another inappropriate reason. If this happens to you, you need a malicious prosecution lawyer in Illinois.

At Curcio Law Offices, our top priority is achieving justice on behalf of our clients. As one of the most respected personal injury firms in Chicago, we know what it means to practice law with compassion and advocacy. If you experienced malicious prosecution and you want to pursue compensation, we offer free and confidential consultations. Call today at 312-321-1111 or fill out our online intake form.

malicious prosecution

What Is Malicious Prosecution?

Many people conflate the two terms “malicious prosecution” and “abuse of process.” However, these two phrases mean different things. While they are similar at first glance, there are several key distinctions between the allegations.

Malicious prosecution occurs when someone files a lawsuit without probable cause, without legal grounds, or for an improper purpose. It occurs in both civil and criminal proceedings. In order for victims to become whole again, they can usually file a tort claim.

How Does It Relate to Abuse of Process and False Arrest?

Abuse of process is yet another tort claim for legal malpractice. It varies from malicious prosecution in that a plaintiff can still sue for abuse of process even if the case had legitimate cause to be pursued, but the lawsuit was brought for an inappropriate or ulterior motive. Attempting to bind the property in a divorce action in order to persuade the other spouse to submit to alternative child visitation rights, for example, may be considered abuse of process. Abuse of process accusations, however, are difficult to establish and rarely succeed.

Other accusations include false or wrongful arrest, which occurs when a person is detained by the authorities without reasonable cause. Probable cause demands that police have enough reliable information to lead a rational officer of caution to suspect the arrestee has done, or is about to commit, an infraction. Acting on a warrant is usually a full defense to a wrongful arrest accusation.

The Elements of Malicious Prosecution

The plaintiff must show the following four criteria in order to win a malicious prosecution lawsuit:

  • Without reasonable reasons to believe the foundation for the case or the claims made in it, the defendant commenced or prolonged a criminal or civil legal procedure.
  • Other than obtaining a judgment in the process, the defendant had another goal in mind.
  • The case has concluded in the favor of the individual who was being prosecuted or sued.

Essential Terms to Understand


A criminal proceeding is any procedure by which the authorities can penalize someone for crimes ranging from homicide to a traffic ticket. A civil action is one in which the plaintiff is not a governmental agency and is seeking monetary damages or a judgment. Even if the parties bringing the criminal or civil case believe they are able to win the case and are suing for a justified reason when they start the case, they can be charged with malicious prosecution if they find a reason they can’t win during the case and proceed with the case anyway for inappropriate reasons.

Reasonable Grounds

The initial prosecutor or plaintiff must have reasonable grounds, or probable cause, to bring the case. This indicates that a sensible person in their position would believe the legal action was valid and had a probability of succeeding. There is no need to establish that a reasonable person would likewise think the activity is improper if the person seeking the prosecution or lawsuit knows it is.

Improper Purpose

When a lack of reasonable grounds is established, an inappropriate aim is usually presumed. This implies that in a malicious prosecution case, the plaintiff does not have to establish that the defendant had an inappropriate motive. The plaintiff, on the other hand, will lose if the defendant can show that he or she had a valid motive.

For example, if a defendant was just following their attorney’s advice, despite the fact that the case lacked probable cause, the defendant may not be responsible for malicious prosecution if they acted unjustly but wrongly believed their lawsuit was valid.

Favorable Termination

Finally, in a malicious prosecution case, the plaintiff must have fought and won the preceding unlawful litigation. To put it another way, if a person has been convicted of criminal charges or has been ordered to pay penalties in a civil case, they are unlikely to be able to sue for malicious prosecution as a result of that criminal or civil legal proceeding.

How to Sue for Malicious Prosecution

Prosecutors who file criminal prosecutions without sufficient cause may be sued, and prosecutorial immunity may be revoked if the prosecutors’ acts are bad enough.

A malicious prosecution is a criminal or civil action initiated without a valid foundation and for an unlawful goal, such as pestering the defendant, destroying someone’s reputation, or purposefully putting responsibility on someone other than the real perpetrator. The accused can sue for malicious prosecution and seek monetary damages if a prosecutor brings such a case and the accusations are dropped. The statute that provides for a malicious prosecution claim is intended to prevent and rectify legal process misuse.

How Much Can You Sue for Malicious Prosecution?

Malicious prosecution damages are similar to those for other forms of injury. The most significant distinction is that in a normal personal injury lawsuit, you have been physically injured and want compensation to heal. In an instance of malicious prosecution, the harm is largely pecuniary, reputational, or commercial in nature.

In several states, legal expenses can be recovered as damages in a case of malicious prosecution. In most personal injury lawsuits, attorney expenses are not recoverable. Those expenses, on the other hand, were expended in a malicious prosecution case because of the defendant’s wrong purpose and claim.

As a malicious prosecution plaintiff, you are not restricted to monetary damages. You can also get reimbursed for things like emotional discomfort. Finally, if the hostile action against you is severe, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These penalties are used to penalize behavior that is considered inappropriate in a civilized community.

Should You Sue for Malicious Prosecution?

While these cases are sometimes difficult to pursue, there are notable positives involved.

Successful Cases Might Result in the Defense Paying Your Attorney Fees.

You may be able to collect your attorney expenses from the unlawful action if you file a malicious prosecution claim. Some individuals are surprised to learn that in most cases, legal fees are not recoverable in American courts. Even if you can recover them, it’s rarely simple. It’s not the same when it comes to malicious prosecution. An abusive judicial action in the form of the original case is the injury in this type of lawsuit. As a result, any fees or expenditures spent as a result of the improper lawsuit might be sought as damages.

You Might Recover Damages to your Personal Business.

In a malicious prosecution lawsuit, you and your company may be able to collect monetary damages. You can, for example, attempt to recoup lost revenue as a result of damage to your company’s image. This is particularly true when the claim involves an erroneous administrative action.

Successful Claims Often Help to Restore Your Reputation.

You may feel compelled to clear your image if you have been wrongly sued. Having a public record that proves you are correct might be your most precious victory. A good reputation is invaluable. Even if you don’t get monetary compensation, a victory proves invaluable for yourself and your business.

What Do Victims of Malicious Prosecution Have to Do?

You must be able to prove that there was no reasonable cause to litigate the issue in order to recover damages for malicious prosecution. Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that the plaintiff in the initial case behaved with purposeful malice. If your claim is connected to a civil case, you may need to establish that you were directly harmed as a consequence of the activities of another person.

Potential Damages in Malicious Prosecution Cases

In a malicious prosecution case, the plaintiff may be able to obtain money from the defendant for specific damages. Loss of reputation and credit, shame, and mental anguish are all common injuries. Additional damages often include suffering, impairment to one’s health, loss of time, and social isolation from one’s family if the original behavior was unlawful.

The plaintiff can also recover damages if they suffer an economic loss as a result of the initial action. This sum covers the plaintiff’s legal fees and court costs expended in defending the initial action.

Finally, punitive damages may be awarded to the plaintiff. Judges and juries award punitive damages to penalize a party’s misbehavior. Punitive damages are frequently granted to malicious prosecution plaintiffs who obtain damages awards since a case for malicious prosecution needs evidence of the defendant’s wrongful purpose.

Why Do You Need a Malicious Prosecution Lawyer?

Few injustices are greater than serving time for a crime you didn’t commit. In cases of malicious prosecution, many people suffer in more ways than losing time to prison. They often suffer financially, socially, mentally, and emotionally. If you are a victim of malicious prosecution in Illinois, you need a compassionate and aggressive attorney on your side. A malicious prosecution lawyer will help you navigate the complexities of appealing your case.

Contact a Malicious Prosecution Illinois Lawyer Today

If you suffered from malicious prosecution in Illinois, Curcio Law Offices stand ready to help you. Our highly respected Chicago police misconduct attorneys have extensive experience litigating on behalf of victims of police brutality, coerced confessions, due process violations, illegal search and seizure, malicious prosecution, and much more. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with us, please call 312-321-1111 or fill out our online intake form today.