The process of a criminal case can be difficult to navigate and can have serious consequences. This process can be even more daunting if you know for a fact that you are innocent. People may level false accusations against you for a number of reasons. Perhaps they are jealous of your success, and they wish to destroy your career. Maybe you have been falsely accused of domestic violence by a bitter ex. Perhaps your situation is simply a case of mistaken identity, and you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever the case may be, it is important to fight for your rights in the best way possible if you have been falsely accused of a crime. But how exactly do you accomplish this?
The Burden of Proof
The first thing you need to understand is that the burden of proof lies with the accuser. In other words, you are “innocent until proven guilty.” This means that it is the prosecution's responsibility to prove your guilt, and it is not your responsibility to prove your own innocence. If the prosecution cannot prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” then the court has no choice but to let you walk free. This is one of the most important foundations of our democracy. Without it, society would devolve into endless accusations based on flimsy evidence. The burden of proof separates us from authoritarian regimes and dictatorships with kangaroo courts that achieve nothing.
Dealing With Arrests, Interrogations, and Investigations
Defending your rights effectively begins before you even team up with your defense lawyer. If you are placed under arrest, you can take a few important steps to improve your chances of a positive result. The first rule is simple: Stay quiet. Exercising your right to remain silent is one of the most intelligent things you can do when facing an arrest based on a false accusation. It can be very tempting to try to explain yourself to the police, but your best bet is to wait until your lawyer is present. If you are not careful, you can say things that may incriminate you.
This is why police are legally required to inform you that “anything you say can and will be used against you.” They are essentially waiting for you to slip up and say something self-incriminating. Even if they appear to be friendly and supportive, police are usually trying to get more information out of you to assist with a conviction.
You have no legal obligation to say anything to the police. Even better, your decision to remain silent cannot be used against you as a sign of guilt. Tell the police that you wish to consult with your attorney. When you meet with your lawyer, you can have them present during any interviews or interrogations. Having a legal professional at your side helps you approach this difficult situation with greater confidence and efficiency.
Police may imply that you have no choice but to comply with their demands. But think carefully before you go along with their instructions. Often, these “demands” are actually veiled requests, and you are under no obligation to agree to anything. For example, they might say something like: “We're going to need to search your vehicle.” Even though this sounds like you have no say in the matter, you do have the right to refuse the search unless the police have a warrant. The same logic applies to interviews and interrogations. They might say something like, “We're going to need you to come into the station for questioning.” Once again, you can deny this request – and it is usually a good idea to do unless you get the green light from your defense attorney.
An alibi is a piece of evidence that proves you were somewhere else when the crime was allegedly committed. A solid alibi can help you walk free if you have been wrongly accused of a crime. Speak with your attorney and try to determine whether you have an alibi. For example, you might have been at work when the alleged crime took place – and your co-workers may testify on your behalf to prove you were at the workplace.
Other alibis are less obvious – and your lawyer may find evidence that you never even considered. For example, surveillance footage from a gas station may show you filling up your car when the crime allegedly took place. Sometimes, you need to think outside of the box to find a solid alibi.
Even though the burden of proof lies with the accuser, it never hurts to gather as much evidence as possible to support your innocence. Your lawyer can certainly help you with this process. There are many different types of evidence that may be useful as you pursue the best possible outcomes. You might call upon witnesses to testify on your behalf. These might include witnesses who saw you at a particular location when the crime was committed.
They might also be “character witnesses” – people who can tell the court about your personality to show the jury that you are not the type of person to commit certain crimes. You might also call upon “expert witnesses” to support your case. For example, a medical expert might testify that you were not strong enough to use a heavy weapon. A psychological expert might also testify that you are legally insane. All kinds of experts can help you prove your innocence. Other witnesses may help you destroy the credibility of your accuser – perhaps telling the court about their history of telling lies.
Get in Touch With a Defense Attorney NOW
If you have been falsely accused of a crime, you cannot afford to wait around. You need to book your consultation with the Law Office of Casey James Alexander, LLC, at your earliest convenience. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner you can start fighting for your rights in an effective manner. While the burden of proof is on the accuser, you still need to protect yourself. During your consultation, we can discuss your unique situation and create a solid defense strategy based on your unique circumstances. Get in touch now to get started.