A clean record and a good name go a long way in today’s society. Unfortunately, this may all go awry if you’re falsely accused of a crime. While this may be a stressful time, there are some things that you can do (and other things you can avoid) to improve your situation.
Taking some time to learn what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re falsely accused of a crime will help guide you in the right direction. Let’s take a closer look at what these things are so you can move on to clearing your name.
How to Handle Being Falsely Accused of a Crime
While you may think that being falsely accused of a crime could never happen to you, it’s essential to realize that this happens much more frequently than you’d expect. Although you may not have been involved in the crime, if you’re accused, you’re not guaranteed to have the charges dismissed. Therefore you must understand what you should and shouldn’t do if this happens to you.
What You Should Do
Once you realize how serious this situation is, it’s time to take some actions to increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Maintain your silence. Herein lies one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Don’t argue with the police officer who’s arresting you, because they can use anything you say or do against you. The best course of action is to calmy state that you are requesting to speak to a lawyer and make no further statements.
- Realize how serious the accusations are. Even though you’re innocent, there’s no guarantee that your case will be seen this way. From the very beginning, you need to make decisions and take action to increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome. This means hiring a criminal defense attorney who will fight for you.
- Understand how much it will cost to defend yourself. You’ll need to pay attorney fees, investigation costs, and potentially for expert witnesses as well. Although this may seem unfair, it’s essential to do these things so you can build a strong case that proves your innocence.
- Gather physical evidence (e.g., clothing, photographs) and documents (e.g., correspondence, emails, receipts, GPS data) as soon as possible. These are things your attorney will need to see and can make or break your case. Any of these pieces of evidence can help your attorney prove that you were somewhere else when the crime was committed.
- Make sure officers have a warrant before allowing them to search your property. Here is one of the few times you should tell a police officer “no.” Since you haven’t done anything wrong, you may think this is harmless. However, officers can take anything during this search and use it to their benefit. Unless the officer has a warrant, you are not obligated to let them search your property.
- Create a list of possible witnesses. This list should include anyone who you think has information that could help your case. Make sure you have their contact information and provide it to your attorney.
What You Shouldn’t Do
When you’re faced with false accusations, there are certain things that you may do that could make your situation worse. Here are some of the things you don’t want to do:
- Never destroy any type of evidence. Even if you think that this evidence could hurt you, you mustn’t destroy it. Doing so could hamper the case, and you could be facing another charge – destruction of evidence. It may also make you look even more suspicious.
- Don’t voluntarily consent to a DNA test. Even if you believe that this will prove your innocence, you should never do so before consulting an attorney.
- Do not talk to the media. Since arrest records are available to the public, the media may know about your case. When this happens, the media may ask you for comments. While it may be tempting to talk to them so you can explain your side of the story, don’t do so without your attorney’s express permission.
Get Legal Help Right Away
The best defense is a good offense. Therefore, as soon as there is an accusation of a severe criminal charge, it is crucial that you have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Select someone who is knowledgeable in your specific charge and defense.
Jeremy Widder Law is a Maryland-based legal firm specializing in protective orders and minor offenses, substance-related offenses, property crimes and non-violent felonies, as well as major offenses and violent felonies.
Getting charged with a crime can be scary. You want someone who will listen and be your advocate. We are committed to walking with you from start to finish and giving your unique case the attention it deserves. Contact Jeremy Widder Law today.