No one expects to be wrongfully accused of a crime. But it does happen, and it happens more frequently than you might imagine. While exact figures are difficult to come by, the National Registry of Exonerations said in 2019 that the rate of unjust convictions is anywhere between 2 percent and 10 percent.
Any institutional flaws, such as poor evidence, misidentification, perjury, police misconduct, or forced confessions, can result in false allegations and, if left unchecked, unjust convictions.
Being wrongfully accused of a crime is a nightmare, and the harm to your image is just the beginning. Fortunately, you can fight unjust allegations and resolve the situation with the correct legal approach if you move quickly.
Also, you must be aware of the seriousness of the violations and the possible consequences. You cannot expect the police, prosecutor, judge, or jury to see the case your way, even if you are innocent. You might make decisions and take measures that will raise the probability of a good outcome if you take the allegations seriously from the start.
That is why in this article, you will learn important steps you should take to defend yourself if you have been wrongfully accused or charged with a crime you did not commit.
1. You Should Be Aware of Your Rights
Anybody can face false allegations, which is why it is critical you should know what to do if you find yourself in this situation. You have rights that you can exercise.
These are your rights according to the Constitution:
- The right to a lawyer
- The right to be quiet
- The right to resist a warrantless search
Knowing when to exercise these rights will significantly impact the outcome of your lawsuit.
2. Seek Legal Advice
The first thing you should do is seek legal counsel. Whether you are being suspected of a crime or charged with one, a legal professional can help you through the process and guarantee the best possible conclusion.
The judicial system is complex and challenging to manage. The correct lawyer can assist you in developing your case, obtaining the necessary evidence to prove your innocence, and navigating the minefield that is the media and the court system.
The correct legal representation might assist you in avoiding charges before they occur. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you in avoiding these charges. They can communicate with the courts on your behalf to ensure that they conduct the investigation legally and they safeguard your rights.
3. Refuse to Participate in Voluntary Searches or Testing
Even if you know that a DNA test or a search of your home will confirm your innocence, you never know what the police will uncover. Furthermore, requiring police to get a proper warrant will help to guarantee that they follow all regulations.
You have the right to refuse any searches or tests unless ordered by the court. And you should avoid participating in any such activity, at least in the beginning.
4. Collect Evidence and Witnesses
Suppose you have any evidence that can prove your innocence or refute your accusers’ accusations. In that case, you should gather it as quickly as possible and present it to your lawyer. No evidence, no matter what kind of evidence, should be destroyed. You must provide your lawyer with all proof.
Also, make a list of prospective witnesses who can testify supporting your innocence. It’s ideal to choose those who might know a third party concerning the occurrence, the accusations, and the victim.
You must provide your lawyer with this list. Do not make contact with witnesses on your own. Allow your legal counsel to communicate with any prospective witnesses you have identified.
5. Do Not Resist Arrest
Even if police arrest you for a crime you did not commit, you must stay calm. Attempting to leave (running or driving away from the scene or attempting to fly out of the country) or resisting (physical resistance such as kicking or pushing) can only weaken your case.
But keep in mind that once you’ve been arrested, you’re not required to answer any questions. Even if your attorney advises you to, you are not obligated to do so. However, it is a good idea to follow your lawyer’s counsel.
Being accused of a crime is stressful, and navigating the judicial system can be difficult. Allow your legal team to speak for you and, where feasible, accept your counsel’s advice. While you might believe that because you have done nothing wrong, the system does not function that way. It often takes time to prove your innocence. It’s critical to maintain your composure and collaborate with your lawyer.