North Hollywood, CA asked in Civil Litigation and Criminal Law for Texas

Q: Is this double jeopardy?

If a plea deal from a criminal assault case was accepted and done, can the Plaintiff sue in civil district court for exemplary damages or this double jeopardy? Count one is assault (family violence) count two is intentional infliction of emotional distress. This case was filed before the plea deal was accepted, it went from family assault to a class c disorderly conduct plea deal.

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: No. The disposition of a criminal case does not affect the right of the victim to sue for civil damages in a separate civil lawsuit. Double jeopardy only prevents a person from being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

Exemplary damages can be recovered for a tort like assault if the plaintiff proves "a specific intent by the defendant to cause substantial injury or harm to the claimant" (i.e. "malice").

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