Do’s and Don’ts of Being Falsely Accused of a Crime
At some point in our lives, we’ve all been accused of something we did not do. When we’re younger, it may be something unserious like breaking a vase, but as we get older, false accusations become dangerous. It’s not uncommon for people to be falsely accused of crimes, in fact. When our legal system assumes ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ that means the jury and the court should assume you are being falsely accused until the prosecution proves that you are guilty.
When representing someone for criminal charges, attorneys should rarely operate under the assumption that someone did commit the crime. This means that these “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for when you’re falsely accused of a crime can apply to most criminal defense cases.
For more information and legal representation, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam.
The Do’s and Don’ts of False Accusations
When you’re accused of something you didn’t do, you likely feel this powerful urge to yell and scream out your defense. As human and understandable as this is, this will not help your case. Here are some things you should and shouldn’t do if you are falsely accused of a crime.
Do’s of False Accusations
When you are falsely accused of any kind of crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony, you should start by staying calm. We rarely make good decisions when under pressure. Once you are physically able, or otherwise as soon as possible, contact a criminal defense attorney.
Our criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience, and we will use it to formulate a strategy for your defense and continued freedom. From there, together, we can work to do other tasks instrumental to your defense. Tasks such as:
- Collecting, storing, and preserving all physical evidence of clothing, photos, videos, and other objects pertaining to the supposed crime.
- Gather any documents or records that could be related to the case. This can include things such as letters, financial documents, legal records, phone and GPS records, computer records, and anything that might point to where you were at the time of the incident.
- If you were at or near the scene of the crime, make a list of any potential evidence that can be used against or to defend you so that your legal team can prepare.
- Make a list of possible witnesses of the crime and/or your whereabouts so your legal team can begin contacting them for more information. The prosecution will be as well.
All of these actions will help us form a strategy for your defense. We may challenge your accuser’s credibility, threaten charges of defamation, and/or seek compensation for these false accusations.
Don’ts of False Accusations
Now comes the things you shouldn’t do. After a false accusation, you’ll be on edge and worrying about your future and your reputation. There is no such thing as a good hasty decision in this instance, outside of contacting an attorney. You may feel the urge to make statements or destroy evidence against your character, but these are not good ideas. Other things you should never do in response to being falsely accused of a crime include:
- Attempt to contact the complainant or witnesses yourself. This kind of contact should be left only to your attorneys, and sometimes not even then.
- If you are contacted or apprehended by the authorities, you do not have to answer any of their questions outside of who you are and where you live. Otherwise, you shouldn’t say anything outside of asking for an attorney until your attorney arrives.
- Do not volunteer for any testing, such as DNA testing. This evidence can be tampered with, misused, or misconstrued. Wait for an attorney to help you decide.
What Crimes Have the Most Cases of False Accusations?
There are three crimes that most commonly involve false accusations than others – murder, sexual assault, and drug crimes. Many of these are recorded in the National Registry of Exonerations because many lead to wrongful conviction cases.
What Leads to People Being Falsely Accused?
Statistics show that most false accusations fall into one of the following categories:
- Malicious false accusations: Someone falsely accuses you of a crime to see you charged and placed in prison or ruin your reputation.
- Misrecollection/Mistaken identity: The accuser misremembers facts about the incident that can lead to them, witnesses, and/or investigators believing you were the culprit.
- Police/Prosecutor Misconduct: Many police officers and prosecutors have something to gain from catching and proving someone guilty. It can be a popular reputation or even to fulfill their ego. There may even be a bias against you for your place as a member of a protected class.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at MVSK Law As Soon as Possible
The only safe decision you can make as soon as you know you are being falsely accused of a crime is to contact a criminal defense attorney at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam. It’s frighteningly easy to perjure yourself and/or make it more difficult for your attorneys to defend you. Don’t take any risks, contact an attorney at MVSK Law today.
We’ll work with you to help you understand what you should and shouldn’t do to help your case. Then we can get to work establishing your innocence.