Can I be sued for a crime I did not commit?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I be sued for a crime I did not commit?

I’m a security guard at a bus facility in Hawaii and one of the employees there had his vehicle stolen. I was using the restroom and when I came out of the restroom I was informed of this news. Now I don’t know what time it got stolen. It could’ve been when I was in the restroom or wasn’t. The thing is, if it was stolen while I was in the guard

shack I wouldn’t be able to tell because I don’t know what faces belong to what vehicles. And while I’m at the guard shack I’m always keeping track on who comes in. No one came in. Either the person hopped the fence on the other side or came in through the gate when I wasn’t at the shack. And that employee is talking about pressing charges against me. Can he do that to me if it wasn’t my fault?

Asked on January 2, 2017 under Criminal Law, Hawaii


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

He can certainly go to the police and attempt to press charges, but unless there is some reasonable evidence or reason ("probable cause") to think that you participated in the crime (e.g. conspired with or assisted the criminal(s), such as by turning a blind eye to their actions or deliberately leaving your post), the authorities should decline to bring charges; and even if charges are initially brought, the bar is higher to convict--to convict you, there would have to be evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt" showing that you in some way participated in or assisted with the crime.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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