What Should I Do if I am Falsely Accused of a Crime?

The justice system was created to help prosecute criminals and give just punishments for the crimes committed. When a fake crime is reported, it can be hard to prove innocence if there is inadequate evidence or if it is a he said, she said type of situation. And while it should be “innocent until proven guilty,” that’s not always how it occurs outside the courts. If you are falsely accused of a crime, what should you do and what are your rights? Here are three things to do:

Don’t Say Anything

When a police officer makes an arrest, they are required to read your Miranda warning or Miranda rights. This protects you and lets you know ahead of time that “anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law”.

Since you might say something incriminating yourself, even if you didn’t do it, the best choice is to not say anything. Sometimes police officers come to ask you questions or bring you in for questioning without arresting you. If this happens to you, it is still better not to say anything once you understand that you are under suspicion or being considered a person of interest.

Hire a Lawyer

The one exception to the “don’t say anything rule” is to let the authorities know that you want a lawyer present. Hiring a criminal defense attorney is smart and can help you avoid trouble. Having one sit with you during questioning is the greatest thing you can do for yourself in the situation. As questions are asked, they can tell you which ones to answer and which ones to stay silent.

Since experienced lawyers know the law much better than the average citizen, they know your rights inside and out. Since they’ve done this before, they can sense when the questions are headed down a path where their client might say something that can be twisted or used against themselves and stop it. If the case goes to trial, they also know how to prepare you to testify or act in court.

Seek Retribution

Once you are cleared of wrongdoing, don’t say goodbye to your attorney yet. The law allows you to seek retribution and a criminal defense lawyer is just who you need to help. Making a false claim is against the law and seeking lost wages or opportunities and an attempt at renewal of reputation is allowed. The authorities will handle the legal consequences of the claim, but any good criminal defense attorney will advise you to sue the person in court for their claims. Many people have lost jobs or suffered from a damaged reputation when news gets out about the alleged crime.

The judge looks at everything you have been through, even takes attorney fees and other costs into account. While you might be ready to put everything behind you after proving your innocence, it’s important you go through the process of suing the person who made the false claim. This helps put it on the record that you were innocent all along and teaches them the severity of making false claims in the future. It can also bring you a needed sense of closure and justice.