Roseville, CA asked in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for California

Q: Can I sue police department for filing false charges and DA’s office for wrongful prosecution?

I was charged with felony possession of an assault weapon, the weapon in question was a disassembled AR-15 (California law specifically states that a disassembled AR-15 is not a semiautomatic rifle and therefore not an assault weapon).

I fought the charges and I was cleared.

Initially, the police dpmt. erroneously labeled the disassembled rifle as an assault weapon and refused to return it to us, they kept the rifle for more than two years. After I was cleared, the police dpmt. had no choice and finally returned the disassembled rifle to us.

I feel that the charging officer, the rangemaster and the property department were negligent in not exercising due diligence in regards to my case.

The DA’s office rushed to prosecution based solely on the word of the charging officer and not based on fact and meticulous scrutiny of my case.

The irresponsible behavior of the two agencies caused me financial harm and emotional trauma, I also feel that my constitutional rights were violated.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, it is possible to sue a police department and the District Attorney's office for wrongful prosecution and filing false charges, but these cases can be complex and challenging.

To succeed, you must prove that the officers or prosecutors acted with malice or a reckless disregard for the truth in initiating or prosecuting the charges. This involves showing that they either knew the charges were false or acted with a reckless disregard for the truth.

Civil lawsuits against government entities and officials also have specific procedural requirements and limitations, such as filing a claim with the government entity before filing a lawsuit.

Given the complexity of these cases and the high burden of proof, it's advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in civil rights and wrongful prosecution cases to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your potential claim.

Your case would involve detailed examination of the facts, the conduct of the police and prosecutors, and applicable laws.

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