Have you or someone you know ever been falsely accused of a crime that you believe you did not commit? Are charges being made against you with no guarantee of being dismissed in the future? If so, it is important to take the right steps to fight these unfair charges and take the correct actions to protect yourself.
A false allegation is a crime that occurs when someone is accused of a crime that they did not commit. No one ever thinks they will be wrongfully accused of a crime until it actually happens. These types of allegations happen more often than not and learning what to do before it happens can help save you time, money, and even potential jail time. See below on what to do when being accused of a crime that you did not commit.
Hire an Attorney
The first important step to take when you believe you have been falsely accused of a crime is to recognize the importance of the situation. You shouldn't assume your innocence will be proven without additional help, because that may not happen. Hiring legal protection early in the investigation can help preserve your rights while also advancing the case's evidence and investigative search, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
A trusted lawyer can listen to your experience without passing judgment or jeopardizing your confidentiality. This is due to attorney-client privilege, which refers to a rule that preserves the confidentiality between an attorney and his or her client. From there, a lawyer can advise you on which action to take to help defend and protect your name. Legal advice may be to remain silent, conduct an investigation, file a civil suit, or even impeach the accuser.
Remaining silent is crucial to the case if you have been falsely accused of a crime. Although it may be tempting to scream your innocence, staying silent can help you avoid any possible inconsistencies in your story that can be used against you in the future. Make sure to avoid speaking with the police until you have hired or spoken with a lawyer. It is important to let the lawyer be the voice for you. Avoid contacting the individual who has accused you, and if possible, keep away from them completely until the issue is resolved.
Resist the urge to use social media, whether that be through personal accounts or even speaking to news channels. If the case has the potential to have massive media coverage, staying off the grid can help protect you from claims that could be held against you.
After hiring an attorney, you should begin gathering evidence that may help to validate your story. By conducting a pre-file investigation you can gather all forms of evidence that is done before criminal charges have been filed. Evidence can come from photos, videos, clothing, research, witnesses, and much more. Any evidence that can be presented before charges are made can help prove your innocence in the crime and make it hard for the opposition to place blame on you.
File a Civil Suit
If you believe the accuser's acts were motivated by malice and were later found to be innocent, you may be able to file a civil suit complaint. If the defendant created an illegitimate case because of an ulterior motive, you may be compensated for inflicted damages. This might include economic damages like attorney expenses and medical bills, as well as non-economic damages like embarrassment and loss of reputation.
What Not to Do
When false accusations have been made, it can be easy to let your emotions run high, making the situation worse. Avoid doing any of the following:
- Do not tamper with any evidence that could potentially be incriminating to you as it may lead to criminal charges in the future.
- Consent to any testing or DNA tests without your lawyer present. Even if you believe this will be the determining factor in your innocence you should consult with your lawyer first.
- Talk to the victim of the case or witnesses who may be involved.
- Talk to law enforcement or investigators without a lawyer or a lawyer present as anything said can become incriminating to you.
How We Can Help
Here at Barfoot & Schoettker, we value open and honest communication with our clients and understand how the law can affect every case. We work with you in any case, small or large, to reach a reasonable goal both inside and outside of the courtroom. We believe that each case deserves the personalized attention that a smaller firm can give you. Let us aid you the way you deserve and expect. Contact us today to see how our lawyers can help achieve justice for you.