We hear all the time about innocent people spending years, decades even, behind bars for a crime they did not commit. But what if you end up in a situation where you are the one who is wrongfully accused?
There are several things you should do in the aftermath of a wrongful arrest.
Here are some of them:
- Hire a lawyer: This is by far the most important thing you can and MUST do to help yourself if you’re wrongfully accused of a crime. The biggest mistake you can make is not getting a lawyer because you believe your innocence will be enough to rely on, or even worse, not hiring a lawyer because you don’t want to appear guilty if you are not. It’s possibly that you need even more legal counsel than someone who has actually committed a crime, especially early on in the case.
- You have the right to remain silent. Use that right: If you have been arrested or accused of a crime you did not commit, it can be tempting to shout your innocence from the rooftops and tell your story to anyone who’s willing to hear it. You shouldn’t do that. If you tell your story multiple times and inconsistencies appear – for any reason – law enforcement and prosecutors can use those inconsistencies against you.
- Don’t let police search your property without a warrant: Even if you have nothing to hide, you just never know what can happen if you voluntarily agree to let them search your home. And if they ask for your DNA, don’t give it to them without a warrant signed by a judge.
- Keep up with evidence that proves your innocence: If you have evidence that proves your innocence, keep it safe and secure, then show it to your lawyer before you hand it over to the police. Your lawyer will be able to show it to police in a manner that gets you the most leverage out of the case. On the contrary, if you have damning evidence against you or things that could cast you in a negative light, don’t destroy it or try to hide it. Talk to your lawyer about the specifics of what you think is evidence against you. It might not be as bad as you think.
- Don’t have any contact with the victim of the crime or any potential witnesses: No matter how tempting it is to try to talk things out with the person who has accused you of a crime you didn’t commit, it’s not a good idea. The conversation will likely only make things more convoluted in the end. Whatever you feel like saying to the victim or the witness, say to your lawyer instead. He or she will know better how to formulate a plan.
Just because you’re innocent doesn’t mean that the legal process will be an easy one for you. In fact, it might be even harder because you have to prove you didn’t do anything wrong. That’s why it’s so imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like Jacqui Ford to help you with your case. Contact her office today.