False criminal accusations can arise for several reasons, such as anger, revenge, or jealousy. Sometimes they might be an honest mistake. Unfortunately, regardless of the accuser’s motivations, being accused of something you did not commit can be frustrating and overwhelming. You might not know how to handle the situation and might do things that could hurt your case. This blog discusses some of the actions you can take and those you may want to avoid if false accusations have been made against you. By doing things like retaining a lawyer and refraining from things such as talking to your accuser, you can increase the chances of pursuing a favorable outcome in your case.
How to Proceed After False Accusations
False accusations can have serious consequences. Taking strategic steps when facing them is important.
Below are some of the things you can do to help your case:
- Recognize the seriousness of the situation: Although you know you’re innocent, that does not mean the situation is any less serious. Law enforcement officials will still investigate to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that you committed the alleged offense. They take their jobs seriously and may have a bias against those accused of crimes. They’re not downplaying the incident, and neither should you.
- Retain a lawyer immediately: You might not have been charged with a crime yet, but hiring a criminal defense attorney is still a good idea. They can conduct a pre-file investigation and may uncover evidence supporting your innocence. If your attorney can demonstrate that the accusations are unfounded, they may be able to convince the prosecutor not to file charges.
- Exercise your rights: While under investigation, you have the right to remain silent. Invoke it. If police try to question you, politely let them know that you will not be providing any responses. Also, have a lawyer present during any interactions with law enforcement officials.
- Gather physical evidence: If you know that you’ve been accused, start gathering and organizing documents, texts, emails, receipts, photographs, and other objects that can help show that you weren’t involved in the alleged offense. You can also collect evidence that could undermine the credibility of your accuser.
- Remain calm: Keeping your cool after being falsely accused of a crime can be difficult. After all, a lot is at stake. Still, getting angry could make it challenging for you to process what’s happening and act strategically. Anger could also convince others of your guilt.
How Not to Proceed After False Accusations
When falsely accused of a crime, people might want to try to share their side of the story and prove their innocence. Unfortunately, some of these actions could make things worse for the accused.
Things that might hurt your case include the following:
- Talking to your accuser: You might think you can reason with your accuser and get them to recant their claims. However, talking to them won’t necessarily lead to dropped charges. The prosecutor can still move forward with the case if they believe sufficient evidence exists to prove your guilt. Trying to get your accuser to take back what they’ve said could be seen as intimidation and lead to additional criminal charges.
- Destroying evidence: Refrain from trashing, deleting, concealing, or damaging anything that you think could be used against you. These actions can be considered tampering with evidence, a serious crime charged as a third-degree felony.
- Speaking to the police: Giving statements to law enforcement officials in an attempt to prove your innocence might not have the hoped-for effect. Anything you say can be misconstrued and used against you.
- Forgoing legal representation: You might think that because you’re innocent, everything will work out in the end, and you don’t need a lawyer. But that’s not necessarily so. You still might have to go through the justice process. The system is complicated, and without an attorney on your side, you might make a case-damaging misstep.
Speak with a Member of Our Team
False accusations are serious, but it is possible to navigate these difficult waters and fight against the allegations. A criminal defense lawyer can help with your case and seek a favorable outcome on your behalf.
To schedule a consultation with one of our Dayton attorneys, call L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC at (937) 685-7006 or contact us online today.