Things to Do If You’ve Been Wrongfully Accused of a Crime

Things to Do If You've Been Wrongfully Accused of a Crime

The confusing and emotionally challenging experience of being accused of a crime you don’t know anything about can be quite overwhelming. Worse still, no one can guarantee that those charges will be dropped and that you won’t face any guilt in the future. False accusations do occur, unfortunately, and when they do, they can turn your life upside down. If you are wrongfully accused of a crime, you need to take some steps to protect yourself and your rights, and here are some important things to do.

Try to stay calm

Many people do not know how to deal with the emotional toll of being wrongfully accused of a crime. Of course, you want to defend yourself and prove you did nothing wrong. But taking defensive action or reacting angrily to those claims can damage your case. The opposing side will use your anger and high emotions against you, no matter how righteous you may feel. For example, when it comes to child custody, if you act irrational, aggressive, and furious, the judge may revoke your custody or visitation rights, thinking that you are an unsuitable parent. So, do your best to stay calm and consider your reaction. If you don’t have your lawyer there, you should not speak with law enforcement or answer their questions. Usually, the goal of police interrogation is to get your confession, regardless of false accusations. If you are arrested, tell the police that you will not talk with them until your lawyer comes. 

Hire an attorney

The first thing you should do when facing false criminal charges is to seek legal help. Everything will be much simpler with a lawyer by your side, as they are well-versed in law and can use that experience to work for you. As the folks at Chris Lewis & Associates, P.C. explain, being charged with a crime doesn’t have to ruin your life. Your lawyer will explain the relevant laws regarding your case. They will also start gathering important evidence to support your case and protect you in court. If you procrastinate for too long to hire a lawyer, you can lose many important pieces of evidence. However, you have a higher chance of clearing your name and reputation if you work with a legal professional as soon as possible.

Gather evidence and witnesses

If you expect legal action or any other kind of official investigation against you, you should provide evidence to support your innocence. Collect any relevant receipts or photos that prove you were not there during an event. This can serve as great evidence that you were not involved. Also, look for people who were there or saw what exactly happened, as their testimonies will help you prove that you are not the one to blame. You can also rely on character witnesses who are prepared to testify that they know you very well and can guarantee that you would never have committed the alleged crimes.

Don’t accept plea bargains

A defendant can get a lower sentence or a lesser charge as part of a plea bargain if they agree to plead guilty. Prosecutors often offer these deals to reduce the caseload because of the heavy workload in both the courts and the prosecution. Unfortunately, even innocent people can become attracted to these offers, as it is easier for them to halt the legal process quickly. However, keep in mind that all of this will stay in your criminal record, and why would you accept to have such a mark if you have done nothing wrong? Be courageous and prepared for anything that comes, but fight until the end and do not accept responsibility for an accident you did not cause.

Do not contact the victim

Do not try to get in touch with the victim trying to make things right or find out why they are accusing you of a crime. The prosecution can use this to make it look like you are harassing or forcing the victim to alter their statement, making you seem guilty.

Avoid social media

Stay away from social media and sharing about your case online. Whatever you publish online can be used against you. Law enforcement agencies can access your photos and videos through forensic analysis or recordings of your posts, even after you remove them. You never know what small detail can be used against you, even if you find it insignificant, so stay away from talking about your case on social media.

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Cope with the emotional toll

Your mental health will suffer if you are wrongfully accused of a crime. You will feel so many emotions, such as anger, irritation, and grief, and that is completely natural. So, do your best to put your mental health first as you go through these challenging times. Think about reaching out to therapists or support groups. They are experts who can help you find your way, teach you coping mechanisms, and provide you with a place to talk about how you’re feeling and what you are thinking about. Also, you can help yourself and your mental health by exercising, eating well, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep.

Seek compensation for false accusations

Any remark, whether said or written, to damage another person’s character is considered defamation. Some states have enacted defamation laws to protect people against false accusations that harm their reputation. So, the victim can seek monetary compensation from the responsible party in a civil wrongdoing case, and the defendant is liable for any defamation published in newspapers, websites, posters, etc.

Although the social and emotional toll of being wrongfully accused can be quite severe, you can find peace with the right help and direction. Take a deep breath and stay calm if you ever happen to be in this kind of situation. Contact your lawyer who can help you protect your rights, and surround yourself with supportive people who can motivate you to work on yourself and your health. This can all help you rebuild your life and escape the horror of false allegations.