How to Handle Being Wrongfully Accused

WrittenJ. Hirbyand Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Being wrongfully accused is a situation that no one wants or expects. Any type of accusations can catch one off guard, which can then lead to mistakes that may be personally and financially devastating. It is important to take the right steps to guard against any type of loss.

Take Immediate Action

Those who know they are being accused of a crime that they did not commit should face the situation immediately and directly. If possible, the accused should hire an attorney before formal legal action can take place. The attorney will then advise his or her client on the following steps. This may include filing a preemptive police report. In many situations, the person who files the initial report is viewed as the victim rather than the perpetrator regardless of the circumstances.

Take the Right to Remain Silent

It is unfortunately rare for people to know in advance that they are being wrongfully accused of a crime. There are instances in which police unexpectedly arrive or papers are served before the accused knows what is happening. In these times, it is vital that all parties remain silent until they have a lawyer present. Legal counsel will help with all details. They also help eliminate mistakes that are made while under duress.

Refusee Unwarranted Searches

Just as legal representation is important to refusing wrongful accusations, warrants are vital for any property searches. If the case does go to trial, a search that is conducted with permission and a search that is done so with a warrant is treated differently. A warrant contains a set of rules that the police must follow. These are not necessarily adhered to when a verbal okay is given.

Hire the Best Attorney

Proving innocence is not cheap, but hiring the best attorney is better than being wrongfully convicted of a crime. The best course of action is to hire an attorney with experience dealing with this particular type of crime. It is unwise to rely upon public defenders or the cheapest lawyers. However, if there simply is no money to pay for the best attorney, make sure to stay involved with the process rather than only relying on the expertise of the chosen lawyer.

Keep a Paper Trail

Keeping dated documentation of every conversation and action that takes place is arguably the best piece of advice a lawyer will give the accused. Tape record all telephone conversations that take place between the accused and others. Document everything that has to do with the case and even beyond. There may be something within these documents and recordings that exonerate the victim.

Avoid Plea Bargains

Courts are overwhelmed with cases. Therefore, many accused are offered plea bargains. These sometimes seem like the best option to speed the process along, but they seldom work in favor of those who are wrongfully accused. A plea bargain is an admission of guilt. This can affect future jobs, loans, parental rights, and much more.

Seek Damages

Those who have been wrongfully accused of a crime may spend thousands of dollars in court costs and legal fees. Likewise, they may lose their job which makes it difficult to pay day-to-day bills. The accused's personal life may be affected as well. Even once innocence has been proven, many find their reputations tarnished. The falsely accused can sue for monetary compensation and official acknowledgement of wrongful accusation.

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