Five Steps to Take When Falsely Accused
We all assume that we will never be accused of doing thing things we did not do and that if falsely accused, the legal system will protect us from being wrongfully convicted. However, the hundreds released from death row for murders they did not commit based on new DNA testing show how easily you can be falsely convicted of a crime that you did not commit.
If you have been falsely accused, it is critical to hire a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you become aware of the false accusation to protect your legal interests. While the best advice will come from your attorney, here are five things you can do now to protect yourself after being falsely accused.
1: Realize the importance of false accusations
If you have been accused of a criminal offense, the lifelong consequences can be serious. Many people who are falsely accused experience a period of denial about the significance of the charges. False charges should not be taken lightly. What you do today will greatly determine the outcome of a false accusation. If you fail to take the right steps today, you may suffer serious legal ramifications in the future. If you are a Purdue or other college student, you may face possible expulsion or suspension in a disciplinary proceeding for violation of the university’s anti-harassment and other student conduct policies.
2: Prepare for the costs of your defense
If you have been falsely accused of a serious crime, such as rape, child molestation or domestic battery, you are facing criminal charges with a high risk of conviction. Building a strong defense takes time and money. Expert witnesses, psychological testing and other evidence may need to be collected. Any promise of a cheap and easy way to defend yourself against serious allegations will cost you more in the long run. Especially if your defense is inadequate and you are convicted and sent to prison for a crime you did not commit.
3: Document your case
Writing down as many details as possible about your case is extremely helpful to you and your defense attorney. Keep track of any information related to the false accusation. Be as detailed as possible. If you are not sure about a piece of information, write it down and let your attorney determine its importance. This saves time and money and will be a great asset for your attorney.
4: Prepare a list of witnesses
As a criminal defendant, you have the right to present witnesses in your defense. You need to make a list of those potential witnesses. For each witness, include their name, address, phone number, place of employment, brief background, and what they might be able to provide through testimony. List everyone even though you are not sure if the person would be a good witness. Your criminal defense attorney can take this information and decide which witnesses will most strongly help your case.
5: Know your rights
If you are questioned by the police, you should not say anything until you have talked to an attorney. If you are detained or arrested, you do not have to say anything beyond providing your name, address and birthday. REMAIN SILENT. When they say anything you say can be used against you, they are serious. Explaining yourself will NOT improve your position. Leave the explanation for later when you have had a chance to talk with a lawyer to determine the best strategy on proceeding to defend you on the false accusation.
With over 30 years of experience, Steven Knecht is familiar with the possible defenses to criminal charges. If you find yourself having been arrested or falsely accused of a crime, you should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that you can trust such as Steven Knecht to help you fight the State because you have everything at stake on the outcome.