Things To Do If You Are Falsely Accused Of A Crime
Are you being falsely accused of a crime that you didn't commit? It can be tempting to try and ignore the charges and pretend that everything will be alright, since you assume there is no proof available that you committed the crime. Unfortunately, it isn't that simple and you will need to take an active part in your defense to prevent false charges from becoming a real criminal sentence. The following tips can help you deal with a false accusation.
Tip #1: Get legal help immediately
It's a good idea to get a criminal lawyer on retainer as soon as you are contacted about criminal charges, even before the charges are formally filed, if possible. Don't worry that it will appear as if you are guilty if you get a lawyer, as this isn't the case. It is perfectly normal for an innocent person to secure legal aid. Having professional advice early in the proceedings may even save you from ever having formal charges brought against you.
Tip #2: Begin the documentation process
Do this as soon as you know what you are being accused of, before you have a chance to forget any details that could prove your innocence. Write down your memory of events, including what you were doing and why, who else was there, and any other details you remember. If you weren't even in the area of the crime, then make sure you record what you were doing instead, along with any possible witnesses. Collect actual documentation, as well, such as receipts that prove the time and location of your where-abouts when the crime was supposedly committed. Many of these documents can be hard to find later, so collect them as soon as possible.
Tip #3: Find out what to expect
Your lawyer can help you with this, but self education is also important. Find out what the actual charges are and research what the the most likely punishment is for these charges in your state or municipality. Find out what you can expect in terms of number of court dates and length of time between trials. Learn what your rights are in and out of the courtroom. The more knowledge you have about the process, the more able you will be to navigate this stressful time with confidence and as much ease as possible.
Tip #4: Be on your best behavior
One dumb decision can make the court doubt your innocence, even if there was little proof that you did the crime. Avoid drinking and drugs when awaiting court dates and trials. Don't miss work or other responsibilities, and make sure you hang around responsible friends and family that aren't likely to get in trouble. You don't want to look like you are in the habit of hanging out with criminals or engaging in less than upstanding activities.
Contact a local law firm, like O'Brien & Dekker or a similar location, for more tips and information.