Being falsely accused of a crime is a distressing and challenging situation that can have profound consequences on an individual’s life. If you find yourself facing false criminal charges, it is difficult to overstate the helplessness, despair, and overall distrust in the system you may feel. It is essential to respond with a clear and strategic approach. At Strategic Criminal Defence, we are available for a free consultation to assist you in your matter, and outline several crucial steps to take when falsely accused, aiming to protect your rights, establish your innocence, and navigate the legal process effectively.
1. Remain Calm and Seek Legal Representation
The initial shock of being falsely accused can be overwhelming. Being told to “remain calm”, may seem much easier said that done, especially in today’s climate of social media and information instantly distributed through the open source internet. However, it is essential to remain calm and composed, and not to make any comments, to any person whatsoever, which could later cause you jeopardy and further hardship. Seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately. At Strategic Criminal Defence, we have skilled lawyers who will guide you through the entire legal process, protect your rights, and develop a robust defence strategy.
2. Preserve All Evidence
Gather and preserve any evidence that may support your innocence. This can include documents, photographs, videos, emails, text messages, or any other relevant information that contradicts the accusations. Share this evidence with your lawyer- and only with your lawyer-who can assess its significance and determine how best to use it in your defence.
3. Document Everything
Maintain a detailed record of all interactions related to the case. This includes conversations with law enforcement officers, witnesses, and anyone else involved. Take note of dates, times, locations, and what was discussed. This documentation will help your lawyer build a strong defence based on the facts and circumstances to date, and identify any inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.
4. Adhere to Legal Advice
Listen carefully to the advice of your lawyer and follow it diligently. Your lawyer has your best interest in mind. They are well-versed in criminal law and understand the unique circumstances of your case. Your lawyer will guide you on what to say, how to behave, and what actions to take during the investigation and court proceedings. Trust their expertise and rely on their counsel, and do not be afraid to ask questions or for clarification if you do not understand why they are suggesting or instructing something. At Strategic Criminal Defence, we offer a free consultation.
5. Gather Witness Testimonies
Identify and collect witness information that can support your version of events. Your lawyer can facilitate communication with individuals who were present at the time the alleged crime occurred and ask if they are willing to provide a statement or testify on your behalf. This should only be done with or through a lawyer- it is not advisable to attempt to do this on your own. These testimonies can significantly strengthen your defence and challenge the credibility of the prosecution’s case. However, you do not want to handle this yourself and risk further allegations of attempting to intimidate or influence a witness.
6. Investigate the Accuser’s Background
This cannot be done by you, or the person who has been falsely accused. This must be discussed with your lawyer, however, it is critical to gather lawful background information in order to determine the accuser’s credibility. Moreover, to look for any potential motives they may have for falsely accusing you, such as personal vendettas, financial gain, or coercion. Any such information may be helpful and useful in order to cast reasonable doubt on the credibility of the accuser.
7. Maintain Open Communication
Ensure open and honest communication with your lawyer at all times. Keep them updated about any new developments, information, or concerns you may have. This will allow your lawyer to adapt your defence strategy accordingly and address any emerging challenges effectively.
8. Prepare for the Legal Proceedings
Work closely with your lawyer to prepare a strong defence strategy. This includes anticipating the prosecution’s arguments, identifying potential weaknesses in their case, and developing counterarguments. Communication is imperative, as you should not withhold any pertinent or relevant information due to embarrassment or feeling that it may not be relevant. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the legal proceedings, as they can be lengthy and emotionally draining.
Things you should not do when falsely accused of a crime
Do not act aggressively or engage in retaliation
One of the most critical things to remember when falsely accused is to avoid acting aggressively or seeking revenge against the accuser or any other individuals involved. Reacting impulsively or engaging in retaliation can severely harm your defence case and may even lead to additional charges or other unwanted legal consequences. It is crucial to maintain composure and let your lawyer handle the legal proceedings.
Do not speak to Law Enforcement without a lawyer present:
When faced with false accusations, it is crucial to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. Speaking to law enforcement officers without the presence of your lawyer can inadvertently provide information that could be used against you. Politely decline to answer any questions and request the presence of your lawyer before engaging in any discussions with law enforcement. Do not be dissuaded or deterred if they continuously seek to stay in conversation with you, or present you with information or evidence. You should respectfully advise law enforcement you will speak to your lawyer and have them present. You can contact Strategic Criminal Defence 24/7 for a free consultation if this occurs.
Do not discuss the case publicly or on social media
It is vital to refrain from discussing the details of your case publicly or on social media platforms. While it may be tempting to seek support, and vent your frustrations, doing so can have detrimental consequences, or publicly state your innocence, you do not have an expectation of privacy by publicly distributing information in this regard. Therefore, information shared publicly can be misinterpreted, misused, or potentially used against you in court. Maintain strict confidentiality and allow your lawyer to handle all legal communications. At Strategic Criminal Defence, we can help you in this respect.
Do not contact or communicate with accusers or witnesses
Attempting to influence or intimidate witnesses is highly unethical and illegal. If you have already been falsely accused of or charged with an offence, you may open the door for such persons to distort the truth in your communications, resulting in additional jeopardy. If you attempt to influence or coerce a witness, you could be charged criminally with obstruction of Justice. It is essential to refrain from any actions that may be perceived as trying to manipulate or coerce witnesses into changing their testimonies. Such actions can severely damage your lawyer’s ability to defend you. If you encounter someone involved in your manner by happenstance/ a chance encounter, handle all interactions with witnesses in a lawful and professional manner, and it is best to minimize contact.
Do not violate any subsisting court orders or fail to appear in court
Court orders and appearances are legally binding, and it is crucial to comply with them fully. Failing to appear in court or violating any court orders can result in additional criminal charges and severe legal consequences. This includes arrest warrants and if there is concern you may not attend court; the crown prosecutor may seek to have your help in custody/bail revoked. Hiring an experienced criminal defence lawyer can aid you in cooperating with the judicial process, attending all hearings as required, and following the guidance of your lawyer regarding court procedures.
Do not discuss the case with individuals incarcerated with you:
If you are incarcerated while awaiting trial, it is important to avoid discussing the details of your case with other inmates. These conversations may be monitored, and the information can be used against you by the prosecution. Moreover, the police have often conducted operations using undercover police officers posing as inmates, therefore obtaining undercover confessions and/or evidence in this respect. Exercise caution and only discuss your case with your lawyer or individuals approved by your legal counsel.
Do not think that because you did not commit the offence or crime that you do not need a lawyer – you do:
Perhaps one of the most critical mistakes to avoid is thinking “I don’t need a lawyer, because I didn’t do anything wrong”. The criminal justice system is far from perfect, and although optimism is helpful, you must be vigilant in preparation and know that if you’ve been charged, it’s because the police have formed reasonable grounds to believe you committed the offence. By neglecting to seek legal representation when facing false accusations, you may jeopardize your future and opportunity to have the charges withdrawn or dropped. A skilled criminal defence lawyer is essential to protect your rights, build a strong defence strategy, and navigate the complex legal system. Failing to secure legal representation can significantly jeopardize your chances of proving your innocence. At Strategic Criminal Defence, a free consultation is offered- therefore you have nothing to lose by speaking to an experienced criminal defence lawyer, who can only help your circumstances.
When falsely accused of a crime, it is crucial to exercise caution, remain composed, and be cognizant of each decision and its potential impact. Therefore, it is imperative to have an experienced lawyer assist you navigate the legal process. Do not hesitate to contact Strategic Criminal Defence and book a free consultation today.