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Criminal procedure

abuse of process

Abuse of process is the improper use of the courts and other legal processes for an improper or unlawful motive or purpose, such as harassment or coercion. Abuse of process is an intentional tort (wrong) and may arise in a civil or criminal proceeding.

In Texas, abuse of process is recognized as a civil cause of action that occurs when an individual uses the legal process against another individual primarily for an ulterior motive, rather than to resolve a legitimate legal dispute. This tort requires two main elements: first, an ulterior motive or purpose, and second, a willful act in the use of the legal process not proper in the regular conduct of the proceeding. Some common examples of abuse of process include filing lawsuits with no legitimate legal basis simply to harass or extort the defendant, or using legal procedures in a way that is not intended by the law. Victims of abuse of process can sue the perpetrator for damages in Texas courts. It is important to note that merely initiating a lawsuit with a weak legal basis is not enough to constitute abuse of process; there must be evidence of an improper motive and a misuse of the process itself. Texas follows the general principles of common law regarding this tort, and those who believe they have been subjected to an abuse of process may seek the advice of an attorney to understand their rights and potential remedies under Texas law.

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