False accusations happen more than we would like to admit. Someone could accuse you falsely out of spite, jealousy, or because they mistook you for someone else. These accusations are also common during divorce cases and child custody battles. As soon as you learn about your false accusation, it would be wise to make every second count. The longer you dilly-dally, the closer you get to a jail cell or other repercussions. Here are some practical tips for defending yourself against false criminal accusations.
Understand your current situation
A criminal accusation is a serious charge that could put you in jail for a long time. You could also lose your professional license and experience social stigma. Even though you didn’t commit the crime, the law is not on your side at the moment. The accuser is probably doing everything in their power to send you away. Taking time to realize the severity of your current situation will enable you to put on your thinking cap and devise solutions to get you out of your fix.
Set some money aside
Most defendants don’t like to hear this, but building a strong defense doesn’t come cheap. It would help if you considered the costs associated with the investigation, hiring a lawyer, taking tests, and expert witness fees. You might also need to commute to see your lawyer or attend court hearings if your case gets that far. Therefore, it would be best to have some money stocked up to cushion you as you work towards exoneration. You would rather spend a couple of thousand dollars than end up in jail for something you didn’t do.
Take a private polygraph
The polygraph is the ultimate lie detector that investigators use to determine whether you are telling the truth. You can take a private polygraph test, which will remain confidential until you give the okay. If you fail the test, nobody will ever find out. However, if you pass, you can present the results to the prosecutor, who might consider the possibility of dropping the charges. Suppose the accuser continues pressing for the case to be reopened. The prosecutor will argue that the case is too weak. Even though the private polygraph on its own is not sufficient to help you get your charges dropped, it can go a long way in strengthening your case.
Hire a competent lawyer
The most crucial step after you learn about your false accusation charge is hiring an attorney. If you are facing a false accusation of rape or sexual harassment, it would be wise to hire a sex crime lawyer with a proven track record. Some lawyers will tell you what you want to hear, only for them to run off with your money and leave you high and dry. Some of the qualities you should look out for in a lawyer include honesty, professionalism, good listening skills, and critical thinking skills. Ideally, the initial consultation should be free to give your attorney time to analyze your current situation.
Take proactive measures
Sometimes, waiting for the accuser to drop the charges against you isn’t convenient. It would be best to intervene before the accuser presses charges and the situation worsens. Your lawyer will be better positioned to analyze your current situation and discuss the measures you could take to convince the accuser you are innocent. A meeting over lunch could mean the difference between being acquitted and standing before a judge.
Gather evidence and talk to witnesses
With your lawyer’s guidance, it would help to gather evidence demonstrating you are innocent. Ensure you hand over physical evidence such as clothing, photographs, and receipts to the authorities as soon as possible for analysis. You could also print documents such as emails, text messages, GPS location information, and any other correspondence you had with the accuser. Any witnesses who can vouch for your innocence at the time of the alleged incident could also be instrumental in getting you exonerated.
Cooperate with the authorities during the investigation
Even though you insist you didn’t commit the crime, the authorities still need to conduct a formal and thorough investigation. If you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t have an issue with the police looking into your comings and goings.
Failure to cooperate during the investigation will make you look like you have something to hide. Ensure you give them everything they need to make a final verdict, such as your phone records, text messages, and any other document they request. However, it would help if you didn’t do anything without the green light from your attorney.
Avoid talking about the case details with anyone
Most of the time, individuals are aware of who falsely accused them of a crime. If you don’t know who went to the authorities with misleading information, you must be careful who you talk to and disclose sensitive details about the case. Chances are the malicious accuser will find a way to use the information you provided against you. The only person you should discuss the case with is your attorney. We wouldn’t advise you to talk to your loved ones about the ongoing case, even though you trust them. As soon as the trial is over, you can recount your ordeal.
Impeach and sue the accuser
To impeach the accuser is to present evidence demonstrating they are not honest in their claims. Ideally, impeachment occurs during a cross-examination. Falsely accusing someone of a crime they didn’t commit is a felony with dire consequences. Once the authorities have confirmed that you didn’t commit the crime and have been acquitted, you could file a lawsuit against your accuser for malicious prosecution. The suit should demonstrate that their claims resulted in lots of damages that they could have avoided and require compensation.
Now that you know what to do to defend yourself against a false criminal accusation, a couple of actions could harm your case. First and foremost, it wouldn’t be a great idea to contact your accuser. We also wouldn’t advise you to destroy evidence that would incriminate you or talk to anyone without your attorney present. Speak to an attorney to help fight for your rights and you will likely be exonerated from those false charges.