What is stopping someone from making a false accusation against you?
What is stopping an eyewitness from mistaking you for a criminal?
What is stopping you from being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
The answer to all of these questions is the same: nothing.
Unfortunately, bad things can happen to good people and good people can find themselves facing serious accusations and criminal charges. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond. The actions you take once an accusation has been hurled or charges have been filed will go a long way toward determining whether it will hamper you the rest of your life.
On the off-chance you want to make sure a criminal accusation ruins the rest of your life, follow these tips:
1. Wait until you are arrested or charged to take action.
Sometimes charges or an arrest appear out-of-the-blue and leave you with no time to prepare or take action. However, if you have reason to believe you are being investigated for an alleged crime or know that charges are on the way, that is the time to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney. As law enforcement and prosecutors build the case against you, it is crucial to have someone building a strong defense of your rights.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to resolve the issues you face before charges are even filed if you act quickly enough. If you have already been charged, you can rely on them to look for holes in the prosecution’s case, such as improper police procedure or handling of evidence.
2. Talk to everyone who will listen. Especially the police.
What could go wrong? The police are your friends, right? They simply want to tie up some loose ends and put an end to this unfortunate misunderstanding.
If you are accused of a crime, facing criminal charges, or under arrest, the police are not your friends. In the famous words of your Miranda Rights, “you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…”
The words you say while under duress can and will be used against you. What you say will be twisted to fit the case the prosecution is trying to build against you. You have nothing to gain and much to lose by attempting to verbally defend yourself.
As tempting as it may be to spout off about why you are right and they are wrong, remember that you have the right to shut up. Use it for your own benefit.
3. Don’t worry about finding an attorney.
When your rights, your freedom, and your reputation are on the line, why bother placing them in the hands of a highly trained legal professional?
In all seriousness, hiring an attorney to handle your criminal defense is the best thing you can do to mitigate the damage from a criminal charge and have a chance to move forward as a free person. A criminal defense attorney knows what you don’t know. They know the pitfalls to avoid at every stage of the legal process, and they know how to limit your exposure to the harsh consequences of a criminal conviction.
Contact our highly experienced team if you would like a consultation.
The Bottom Line If You Have Been Accused of a Crime
There are many actions you can take to torpedo yourself in the minutes, hours and days after finding out your rights are threatened. Now that you know how to let a criminal accusation ruin your life, you can be sure to avoid it.