Being falsely accused of a crime is a frustrating experience for anyone, especially if they get arrested and jailed for it. The accusation may either be an informal statement that a person committed a crime or a formal charge on a person for criminal wrongdoing. Whatever the case may be, it is something that people want to avoid.
People who are in this situation should stay calm and avoid making it worse. The complainant may have mistaken them for someone else. Or it might be someone who holds a grudge against them and wants to put them in a bad light. Here are the things that a person should do if he is falsely accused of a crime.
The last thing that the person should do is panic. When they panic, they may end up doing something that will land them in jail. Instead, they should stay calm and try to understand the crime. They should try to find out the seriousness of the crime and the penalties that come with it.
Even if they are innocent, they should still treat the accusation seriously since they have to make sure they can defend themselves in court. Being calm and taking the accusation seriously will also allow them to make correct decisions on what they will do next. It will also increase the chances of getting a favorable verdict.
Be Aware of Basic Rights
A person should also be aware of his basic rights. This is important when a person is falsely accused of a crime. In this situation, they should know that they have the right to remain silent, the right to get an attorney, and the right to refuse a warrantless search.
The arresting officer should read these rights to them before they can be arrested. These are the Miranda Rights that came after the US Supreme Court case in 1966. The officer should also tell them to avoid making self-incriminating statements since the prosecutor can use these statements against them.
If the officer does not read the rights, anything the person will say cannot be used against them in the criminal case. And unless the crime they are accused of is non-bailable, they can also get in touch with a bail bondsman so that they can post bail. This allows them to prepare their defense outside of a prison cell.
Do Not Resist Arrest
People should also avoid resisting arrest even if they did not commit the crime they are accused of. Resisting arrest can only hurt their chances of getting a favorable outcome. This means they should not kick or shove or attempt to leave. Any attempt to leave the scene or the country will hurt their case.
Resisting arrest is a class A misdemeanor in New York. Similarly, the act is also punishable by a fine or imprisonment or both in California.
They should also answer questions when they have a lawyer present. They should listen to the advice of their lawyer in these instances.
Ask for a Lawyer
Since people have the right to get a lawyer, they should ask for one as soon as possible. They do not need to answer any questions without their lawyer. If the person says something that may incriminate him, the prosecutor may use it even if he was wrongfully accused.
So, before they say anything, they should get a lawyer. Experienced lawyers can handle these types of situations. They can also advise the accused of what they can say or not say during an interrogation. If they do not have a lawyer, a public defender will help them and protect their rights.
Once the lawyer is with them, they should tell the lawyer everything about the case. If they have evidence that can help their case, they should make sure the lawyer gets their hands on it. The evidence can include videos, photos, messages, and phone records.
Avoid Posting on Social Media
They should also avoid going to social media while the case is ongoing to avoid endangering their case. They should also avoid talking about the case to people who they do not know. When they say anything, the police can use it against them. This includes social media posts and anything they tell somebody who is not a part of the case. Sharing a picture on social media may even give a different impression about them. Due to this, the person may want to avoid social media for the moment.
Being accused of a crime that a person did commit can be discouraging. But if they know what to do, they can have the case dismissed and all charges removed.