Being falsely accused of a crime you didn’t commit is a nightmare come true. Although you had nothing to do with the crime, there is no guarantee that the charges will be dismissed or that you’ll be found not guilty. What do you do when you’re innocent, but you find yourself in this horrible situation of being wrongfully accused?
Know Your Rights
The first step to protect yourself is to know your legal rights. Even if you know you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ll want to hire an experienced lawyer that deals with cases similar to what you’re dealing with, like this Riverside criminal defense attorney for any criminal charges. Even if you are still just a suspect of a crime, the importance of seeking professional legal counsel cannot be emphasized enough.
Understand the Seriousness of the Accusations
Even though you are innocent, you can’t be sure that justice will be served. The police, prosecutor, and court may not take your side in the matter. If you take the accusations seriously from the start, you have a better chance of making the right decisions that will increase your chances of a ruling in your favor.
Intervene Before You Are Charged with a Crime
A huge benefit of speaking with a lawyer before charges are filed is that he may be able to discuss your case with law enforcement or the prosecutor before you’re actually charged with the crime. They may be able to gather information from you and prove your innocence before the accusations become an official charge.
This is especially true for crimes of a sexual nature, which can be incredibly difficult to prepare a case against. You’ll need quality legal representation, like this sex crimes lawyer in Los Angeles, if you plan on making it out from under these false charges with your life intact.
Gather Witnesses and Any Physical Evidence
Make a list of any witnesses who can provide information about your innocence and provide their contact information for your attorney. Gather any additional physical evidence such as phone records, emails, receipts, photographs, or any other records or objects that may prove your innocence. Doing this work ahead of time will save you time in the long run.
If the allegations proceed and you are formally charged with a crime, there will be an investigation. This is where your witnesses and physical evidence will come into play, and hopefully prove your innocence. A full investigation will highlight your case’s strengths and weaknesses, hopefully helping your defense in court.
Wait and Take No Action
Your attorney may suggest to you that it’s best to do nothing. The prosecutor may not develop enough evidence to charge you with a crime, or the witness or accuser may retract their testimony, resulting in all charges being dropped.
Make a Bargain
After your attorney has gathered all the information and spoken with the prosecutor, he may decide that it’s in your best interest to enter into a plea bargain. Although this seems very unfair when you’re innocent of the crime, you may avoid a conviction on your permanent record. Your attorney will help you decide what the best course of action is for you to take.