Having someone accuse you of a crime that you did not commit sounds terrible. And truth is, this occurs much more frequently than you’d expect. You may not have had anything to do with the crime, but if you’re accused, there is no guarantee that the court will dismiss the charges. As such, it’s essential that you take the necessary steps and understand how to handle being falsely accused of a crime. Below we’ve laid a few important aspects for you to know if you’re accused of a crime you did not commit.
1. Remain Silent
This is one of the most important things you can do if you’re falsely accused of a crime. Many people make the mistake of arguing with police officers during an arrest—do not do this. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Proclaim your innocence, but then stay quiet and don’t try to explain anything. Make sure you don’t talk with anyone else about your side of the story except for your lawyer.
2. Find a Lawyer
If you’ve been wrongfully accused, finding an attorney should be at the forefront of your mind. It’s vital to get the best legal representation you can afford. Do what you can to secure experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive legal representation. Consider asking family members and loved ones for help—this may increase your chances of getting a quality attorney.
3. Don’t Talk to the Media
Do yourself a massive favor and do not talk to anyone from the media. Arrest records are generally available to the public. As such, if your case has received any sort of appeal, chances are the media will come asking for your comments on the charges. Do not talk to them. No matter how tempting it is to explain your side of the story, the prosecutor will more than likely use this interaction against you. The only time you should talk to the media is if your lawyer thinks that you should hold a press conference.
4. Don’t Allow a Warrantless Search
There are a few different times that you should say “no” to a police officer. A warrantless search is one of those times. You may think that you haven’t done anything wrong, so there’s no reason to deny a search. But, a search based on consent has no limits—officers can take and use anything to their benefit. Request a warrant; this has to be specific to the permissible subject and scope of the search.
5. Sue for Defamation
A false accusation won’t just land you in jail, but it can also ruin your reputation, cost you thousands of dollars, hamper your career, and more. If you’re found innocent, you may be able to make a claim for defamation—either libel or slander. Doing so may end up restoring your life to how things were before the false accusation.
Luckily, as science and technology continue to improve, more and more innocent people are exonerated. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, in 2016, 166 people were found wrongly convicted for crimes dating as far back as 1964. This is just the start of ensuring justice for wrongfully accused individuals.
Someone can accuse you of any crime. If you’ve been falsely accused of a prostitution crime, for example, contact Jared Justice—a prostitution lawyer in Portland, Oregon. He has a background in various other types of crimes as well, so he can help you no matter your situation. Reach out today. He’ll do what he can to protect your good name.