While the American just system is designed to bring the truth to light and provide justice for the community, people are often wrongfully accused of crimes. Some of the highest profile wrongful conviction cases have come in the context of the death penalty, where men and women have been set free from death row because of new evidence coming to light. Most people who are wrongfully accused are facing charges for far less serious crimes, however. How do you handle false accusations? Here’s a guide when you find yourself in this situation.
Make no statements to the police and ask for a lawyer
If you are wrongfully accused of a crime, you will likely face the prospect of an arrest. At the very least, officers will come and question you about the supposed crime. It can be very tempting to try and talk yourself out of a charge when you’re wrongfully accused. After all, you didn’t do the crime, so what do you have to worry about? This is a mistake in most cases. People who try to talk to police and convince investigators that they are innocent will sometimes say things that can be used against them in the criminal proceeding.
The best move, then, is to stay quiet if you are questioned or arrested. You must show patience, understanding that you will have a chance at the end of the process to vindicate your rights. The first step is to ask for a lawyer. This will provide you with some legal protection against their questioning.
Work with your lawyer to sort out the false accusation
If you have a good lawyer, they will be able to show that you were falsely accused either before your trial or during the trial. Most of these cases end in dismissals after the district attorney realizes that a person has made a false accusation. In some instances, the district attorney will take the case to trial, and your lawyer will put on a defense using the false accusation. While it doesn’t work out for the best in every case, many people who are false accused are able to vindicate their rights either before trial or during it.
Seeking charges and damages against the person who made the false accusation
Whether your case was dismissed prior to the trial or you were convicted and later released after an appeal, you may have an opportunity to seek damages and charges against the person who put you away. It is illegal to file a false police report. If you would like to see justice done, you can push for police to arrest and charge the person who put you behind bars.
In addition to that, you may have civil damages to collect both against the person who wrongly accused you and the state if it acted negligently. You could file a lawsuit against the person making the false accusations. If police officers or the prosecution committed misconduct in handling your case, you may also receive compensation from them.