FAQs regarding defamation lawsuits

Facing criminal charges can be burdensome. If your case garners public attention, local and even national press are likely watching your every move. Sadly, in the digital age, media outlets aren’t the only ones who might misrepresent facts about your case or your character. With online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, almost any member of the public can post information online and state it as fact.

Whether the statements are accurate or not, they can damage your reputation. Even if you’re innocent, your public perception could take a hit and limit your opportunities in life.

However, just because someone tries to spread rumors about you online doesn’t mean they’re entirely true or protected by the First Amendment. Fortunately, you can file a defamation lawsuit to stop the spread of misinformation and set the record straight.

Why doesn’t defamation receive free speech protections?

The government doesn’t necessarily recognize false statements as a criminal offense. However, defamation is considered a general tort. While the government can’t enforce punishments, victims can pursue legal action against the offending party if they choose to.

When is a statement considered defamatory?

While state rules can vary on what is and is not defamation, defamatory statements typically fall under two categories: libel, written defamation and slander, spoken defamation. If you want to make a successful case for your defamation lawsuit, you must be able to show that:

  • The offender made statements about you
  • Those statements were published
  • The statements made against you were false
  • Your reputation was damaged as a result
  • The person making the statements against you did so maliciously

These types of cases can be complex

Due to the “he said/ she said” nature of some of these claims, defamation lawsuits can be tough to dispute and if you’re considered a public official, the stakes are often much higher. If you’re facing criminal charges and having false statements made about you, an attorney could be the lifeline that keeps your public perception at bay.