Being falsely accused of a crime is the kind of thing that happens in gritty TV dramas. It seems so dramatic, right? Not something that happens in real life, and certainly not something that could happen to you. Except it could. False accusation of a crime upon your shoulders is a terrifying prospect, and although you might trust the justice system to figure out the truth, it certainly does no harm to make sure you are prepared. If you ever have the misfortune of being falsely accused of any crime, from minor to major, make sure you follow these steps as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of achieving the right outcome in a court of law.
It’s the classic mistake you see your favorite characters make, right? They get falsely accused of something and their first reaction is to run away from the police or the authorities or even to try to leave the country. And what does this do? You’re right, it makes you look guilty. The fact that you ran after being accused can be used against you in court, so don’t make this mistake. However scary it might feel, your best chance at clearing your name in the real world is to co-operate fully with the justice system and tackle the issue head-on. It will take courage to do this rather than book the next plane to Thailand, but it is certainly the wisest course of action.
Gather Your Evidence
Evidence is incredibly important, and it is the thing that can save you or condemn you. Hard evidence, such as CCTV, documentation, or recordings, is fundamental to your defense, closely followed by reliable witness statements and other arguments in your favor. The longer you wait to gather evidence, the more likely it is that documents will be damaged and lost, CCTV may be destroyed, and witnesses may forget key details and start to muddy their stories. As soon as you realize you’ve been accused, it’s time to take whatever action you can take yourself, such as saving and printing relevant emails, voicemails, or other pieces of evidence you can find.
Get a Good Lawyer
Your representation, in this case, will be one of the keys to your acquittal, so it’s important to hire the best lawyer possible. You will want criminal defense attorneys with years of training, experience in the industry, and a willingness to work hard on your behalf. It can be tempting as someone who is falsely accused to think that your lawyer doesn’t matter so much as you have the truth on your side – but unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. A great defense attorney will be able to present your evidence in a much more compelling way, vastly increasing the chances that a jury or a judge will see events from your perspective.
Investigate the Truth
First of all, this is not an invitation to engage in any other activity which breaks the law. You should not be sneaking around, breaking into places, or spying on your accuser, to try and find evidence in your favor. This could even be taken as further proof of your guilt. However, it could be key to find out exactly why you have been accused, and who actually committed the crime in question. Work with your lawyer, and potentially using the services of a private investigator, to interrogate the motives of your accusers, and anyone else connected with the case. The strongest defense you put together might include proof of who the real criminal is, and nothing can exonerate you as effectively as being able to point a jury in the direction of the truth itself.
Don’t Plead Guilty
Finally, and this might seem like an obvious statement, don’t plead guilty. Right now, you might be thinking ‘why would I’ – but you would be surprised. Often, prosecutors might offer deals if you plead guilty, with lesser sentencing and punishment as a result. Your own defense attorneys might try to persuade you to accept these deals as a way to avoid harsher punishment. Being accused of a crime, and all the consequences of that, can be a terrifying experience, and it might feel very tempting to take this way out. However, a guilty sentence on your record can affect your life for many years, so don’t be drawn into this trap. If you know you are innocent, stick to your word, and instead focus your efforts on finding the evidence and counsel that will bring the truth to light.