What Should You Do if You Are Falsely Accused of a Crime?
Over 260 people were exonerated in the U.S. last year, which shows that false accusations are more common than we think.
Being falsely accused of a crime is terrifying and can completely uproot your life, especially if it’s a serious one. If you don’t navigate the issue correctly, you risk getting penalized, losing your dignity, and even seeing jail time in the worst-case scenario. Maybe it’s that concern that brought you here; you’re in this current situation and are looking for a way out.
Hit the nail on the head? Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what to do when falsely accused of a crime.
Understand What False Allegations Are
Before diving into the necessary steps, it’s important to know what false allegations are. This is when someone falsely claims that you did something, whether it was being accused of theft, domestic violence, or, in more serious cases, that you’ve committed rape or murder.
Regardless of whether you’ve been accused of robbery or selling drugs, you must always stay calm. Although it’s tempting to take matters into your own hands, this can cause more problems and hurt your case. Instead, take a step back and seek legal help.
Hire a Defense Attorney
You’ve received a false accusation of assault so it’s time to hire a criminal defense attorney.
Book a consultation where you can discuss your case and ask for legal advice. Many accusees make the mistake of navigating the legal world alone, but this will take hours of extensive research and you could make mistakes that are detrimental to your case.
Firstly, your attorney will figure out the laws around your crime and how it affects the false accusation. Then, you’ll fight these allegations in court before pursuing compensation from the accusor. Although this sounds daunting, your attorney will guide you through the process and strengthen your case.
Struggling to find a reputable attorney? Then, ask friends and family members whether they could recommend someone in the area. If you can’t, enter “criminal defense attorney (your location” in a search engine and contact those with at least three stars.
Spend time reading through comments to see whether the attorney is worth your time and money. Don’t be afraid to contact clients and ask for their honest feedback, especially if they’ve had a similar case. And aside from the firm’s website, read third-party sites like Google My Business and Yelp for an unbiased review.
Conduct a Pre-file Investigation
Once you’ve hired a defense attorney, you must conduct a pre-file investigation. This is when a law firm investigates the allegations before the charges get filed against you. During this process, you’ll gather evidence that works in your favor and proves that you didn’t commit the crime.
If you’ve been accused of a crime, keep a journal and note all the contact you’ve had with the accusor. For instance, write down when you’ve received emails and texts, and what happened when you’ve met in person. Note, it’s wise to cut off all communication with the accusor during this time, especially if it’s contentious.
You should also hold onto receipts from any stores or restaurants to prove your whereabouts, especially if it collides with the accusor’s story. Also, if anyone related to the incident posts on social media about the case, take a screenshot because it could help your case.
Further, find your own witnesses if possible. Your witnesses should attest to your innocence or accuse the accusor of misconduct. For instance, this could be someone who you were eating dinner with at the time of the alleged incident.
Or Do Nothing
In certain situations, your attorney may advise you to do nothing. This will test whether the prosecutor can gather sufficient evidence to charge you with the crime. If not, the charges will likely be dropped.
Question the Accusor’s Credibility
After you’ve compiled the evidence, your attorney will help you develop a strategy to combat the false allegations. In most cases, the attorney will challenge the witness’s credibility by calling them onto the stand.
For instance, if you’ve been falsely accused of child abuse by your spouse, your attorney will ask if it’s because they want full custody of your little one. It’s your attorney’s goal to reveal that the accusor isn’t credible and whose motive is to bring your down.
Take a Private Polygraph Test
Although it isn’t always necessary, taking and polygraph test can help your case. Your defense attorney can share the results with the prosecutors who may drop the charges or insist on completing another test. If you pass again, the prosecutor will decide that their case is too weak to continue.
Consider a Plea Bargain
In many cases, innocent people choose the plea agreement where they plea guilty to a lesser charge rather than risk conviction. Although it’s unjust, you may choose this option, especially if you’re struggling with legal fees or don’t want a stain on your records. If there is no progress, your defense attorney will advise you on whether this is in your best interest.
What You Should Do When Falsely Accused of a Crime
Hopefully, you’ll know what to do when falsely accused of a crime.
There are many actions to take, such as understanding what the allegations are and finding a reputable criminal defense lawyer in your area. You should also spend time gathering sufficient evidence and only act with your lawyer’s consent. Good luck with your case!
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