What Should I Do When I’m Falsely Accused for a Crime?
False accusations for crimes are a common occurrence. Even though there is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, that doesn’t mean the law is entirely in your favor. All criminal accusations need to get treated seriously, as they can result in severe penalties that can impact your life forever.
Knowing how to respond if you are falsely accused of a crime can help you preserve your freedom and save your reputation. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers in Virginia explain in detail the steps to take to ensure you have a strong chance at fighting back against your charges if you are falsely accused of a crime. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start preparing your defense.
Are False Accusations Common?
According to the Innocence Project, approximately 1% of the prison population in the U.S. was falsely convicted of their crimes. 1% of the prison population equates to roughly 20,000 people. This is only a conservative estimate, as there can potentially be many more instances of false convictions that got overlooked.
The statistic above is just for people falsely imprisoned. The actual number of false accusations that occur is substantially more significant. So, the answer is yes. False accusations are a lot more common than people believe. If you’re innocent and get falsely accused of a crime that you didn’t commit, you’re not alone.
What Do I Do After Getting Falsely Accused of a Crime?
Our lawyers here at the Pendleton Law Team have a series of steps you should follow when you have been falsely accused of a crime. This guide can help you ensure that you don’t put your case or your innocence in jeopardy.
If your false accusation results in your arrest or questioning, don’t say anything. You should always take advantage of your right to remain silent. Don’t speak to the police, the prosecutor, your neighbor, friends, or anyone else. You don’t want to risk saying or doing anything that may somehow connect you to the crime you’re falsely accused of.
This rule applies digitally as well. Don’t post about anything on social media, don’t text anyone, and don’t make any phone calls. Anything you say or do, whether online or offline, can get used against you.
Decline Any Searches or Testing
The police may want to search your car, home, or other property that you own. Furthermore, they may ask that you provide a voluntary DNA sample, fingerprint sample, etc. Unless there is a court order allowing them to do so, you can always tell them no.
While consenting to the sample may prove your innocence early on, you can never know what the police can dig up during testing or searching that only confirms their suspicions even more.
Don’t panic when you face a false accusation. Even though you should have a sense of urgency to your accusation, that doesn’t mean you should have a knee-jerk reaction to the situation. It’s best to have a calm, level-headed approach to your defense. If you act emotionally or are entirely reactionary, the police may use that as a sign that you’re guilty of something.
File a Civil Suit Against Your Accuser
A false accusation can harm your life in many ways. Not only will your reputation get tarnished, but you could also lose your job. Whatever damages you sustained, you can get them compensated by filing a civil suit against your accuser.
In some cases, you can also file a civil suit against law enforcement for breaching your rights, harassing you, or for the miscarriage of justice.
Don’t Directly Contact Your Accuser
You should never contact the person accusing you of a crime. Even though it may seem logical to try and work things out personally, this will almost always end in disaster. Your accuser doesn’t want to talk to you, and law enforcement may see your actions as harassment, only proving their suspicions of your guilt further. Just keep your distance and build a strong defense.
Never Tamper With Evidence
This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how many people try to get rid of evidence or things that may seem questionable or make them look guilty. While you shouldn’t just assume your innocence will protect you completely, this isn’t an excuse to cover up evidence. Never do this, as this will most certainly put you in hot water.
Always Retain a Lawyer to Help You
Even though you could fight for your own defense in court, you shouldn’t do this. If you have little or no experience in criminal defense, the chances of you proving your innocence are slim to none. Most prosecutors will throw the book at you to secure a conviction. So, don’t become another statistic in prison.
If you were falsely accused of a crime, fight for your innocence with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Pendleton Law Team. Our lawyers can help you by:
- Reviewing all the evidence in your case and seeing if there are any flaws or holes.
- Obtaining and examining critical records such as police reports or medical reports.
- Handling all your communications with other parties to ensure privacy.
- Representing you and your best interests both in court and out of it.
- Answering all your legal questions and providing legal advice.
As you can see, there are many benefits to hiring a lawyer that you won’t get if you choose to defend your innocence by yourself. Getting a strong, dedicated, and experienced lawyer by your side is the best move to make to ensure you have the best chances at proving your innocence.
Should I Just Take a Plea Bargain and End This Quickly?
A plea bargain is a great way to resolve legal matters quickly, but you should be extremely careful of them. For example, in drug-related cases, prosecutors are known to use plea bargains as a way to strong-arm people into pleading guilty with an offer they can’t refuse, thus securing them a conviction.
While this example is for drug-related offenses, the sad truth is that virtually every crime has this problem. The prosecution offers extremely unfair plea bargains that result in a criminal conviction. Before you take any plea bargain, you should always look it over and negotiate the terms first. Our lawyers can assist you with this and make sure that you get a fair deal.
Get Help From an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At the Pendleton Law Firm, we have experienced criminal defense lawyers that can help you prove your innocence and prevent false accusations from ruining your life. Request an appointment for a free consultation today. You can contact us online or over the phone.