Can I sue for slander if I was in jail for aggravated assault but someone is spreading the rumor that it was for child molestation?
I was in custody (non-bondable) for 5 months pending an aggravated assault trial. The case against me was fully dismissed before the trial. Since my release I have had at least 5 people (who just happen to be friends of mine) tell me that this person was/is saying the reason I was in jail is because of sex with minors/rape/underage molestation. Absolutely untrue. I am 25, I have a very social, active, professional life and my reputation is very important to me. I even had to correct a friend's girlfriend 2 days ago because she thought it was true. What options do I have here? Punitive damages?
Defamation or "defamation of character," is spoken or written words that falsely and negatively reflect on a person's reputation. Slander is oral (i.e. spoken) defamation. If the false statements, gossip, or groundless accusations ends up affecting your employment status or seriously damages your reputation, you may have grounds for an actionable claim.
However, not every false or nasty statement or rumor constitutes an actionable claim. In order to prove slander in AZ, you have to prove that what was said about you:
- Was false (if the information is true you will not have a case);
- Was communicated to a third party;
- Was either intentionally or negligently made; and
- Caused a real and irreparable harm or public humiliation.
Right now, based upon the facts that you have presented it appears that you should consult with a personal attorney in your area as to your specific situation. In AZ, you have 1 year in which to file a laswuit for defamation (slander).