Answers To Your Questions About False Allegations
It happens far too often: Someone is accused of a crime they didn’t commit, convicted and locked away. The person struggles from behind bars to be exonerated. You hear stories all the time of people being freed on new evidence or because of new technology. Unfortunately, these cases are the outliers. Overturning a criminal conviction is no small feat. If you have been falsely accused, you should not wait for it to get to that point. Instead, take immediate action.
Here are answers to questions commonly asked by those in this situation:
Why Was I Falsely Accused?
False allegations can be made for any crime and for many reasons. Maybe you were present where and when the crime occurred. Perhaps you look similar to the person who actually committed the crime. Perhaps someone stole your identity and used it to commit the crime.
Often, the problem is not a case of mistaken identity, but differing viewpoints on what occurred. This is common in sexual assault cases, when the accused does not believe that anything illegal has taken place, while the alleged victim claims that something was done without their consent.
Do I Need To Take False Allegations Seriously?
This is real. This is happening. This is serious. You have no choice but to take the matter seriously at this point, because regardless of whether or not you did what you are accused of, you could be facing serious penalties. Now is not the time to be dismissive.
Can I Trust The Police And Prosecutor To Recognize That I was Falsely Accused?
You have been taught to believe in the criminal justice system. You might think if you simply be honest and tell your side of the story, the police and prosecutor will be able to see the truth. Unfortunately, if that were the case, there would be no such thing as a wrongful conviction. The reality is that police and prosecutors are humans like everyone else and susceptible to mistakes. Some may even resort to unfair tactics to see that you are charged and convicted.
Should I Talk To My Accuser To Straighten This Out?
The individual or business that has accused you of a crime – whether it’s sexual assault, assault, theft, a white collar crime or anything else – likely believes that you are a criminal and may feel threatened if you attempt to contact them. If there is a protective order against you, this could result in further charges. Do not attempt to sort matters out yourself, as it may only make things worse.
What If I Made A Mistake, But Not What I Was Accused Of?
Everyone makes mistakes. Maybe you know you made one, but you are being accused of something far worse. Maybe your accuser said that you committed the worse crime, or the charges against you have been inflated by the police or prosecutor. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to argue for reduced charges that match your actual error.
I Won’t Go To Jail Or Prison Because I’ve Been Falsely Accused, Right?
Please understand that this is a very real possibility. Organizations like the Wisconsin Innocence Project are wholly dedicated to getting falsely accused and convicted people out from behind bars. Trust us that it is much easier to fight at this stage than wait until you are incarcerated or have a criminal record.
What Should I Do To Protect Myself?
The first step, as already mentioned, is to take this seriously. Don’t talk to anyone. That includes the police and prosecutor. Collect anything you have that might be evidence for your side, including names and contact info of witnesses. Enlisting a criminal defense attorney who has a reputation for fighting false allegations can prove beneficial, and the earlier the better.
Will I Look Guilty If I Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
You may have seen this card played by law enforcement on TV shows: If you hire a lawyer, that will just make it look like you’re guilty of the crime. In the real world though, having a lawyer on your side is not just about protecting you from criminal charges. It’s making sure that your rights are protected, that the police and prosecutors don’t overstep their bounds, and that the truth comes to light. At the end of the day, most people would prefer to do this over having a lifelong criminal record.