No experience can be more devastating than getting locked up in jail for a crime you didn’t commit. But it’s life… and false accusations happen all the time. Actually, a good number of the people behind bars are actually innocent, law-abiding individuals that are only there due to eyewitness misidentification, false evidence, quack justice officials, and uttering self-incriminating statements, among other factors. You will rarely find an inmate who was wrongfully convicted because luck wasn’t on their side during trial.
But you wake up one day, only to find the police knocking on your door with an arrest warrant… stating that someone accused you of assault or domestic violence and you’re under arrest. The men in blue could even pull you over in traffic and before you know it, you’re being accused of possession of illicit drugs. It’s how the world of today works and it’s not a new thing at all. However, how you conduct yourself after the incident and how you react when being accused of a crime you didn’t commit can make a huge difference.
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Maintain Silence to Avoid Self-Incrimination
Thanks to the Fifth Amendment in the US and similar laws in other countries, you always retain the right to silence when being arrested or interrogated by the police. One of the best ways to dodge the wrongful conviction bullet is to avoid saying anything at all, whether the police are arresting you or just looking for facts. Maintaining silence doesn’t amount to refusal to co-operate and since anything you say could and would be used against you in a court of law, your best defense at the moment is to keep it zipped and say you can only discuss things further in the presence of your attorney, which brings us to the next important point.
Contact Your Lawyer
The law also grants you the right to legal assistance anytime you’re accused of a crime or felony. At the point of being arrested on criminal charges, your emotions could be heightened and you could also end up saying or doing something that may act against you in a court of law. The most appropriate thing to do is keep your calm and talk to your lawyer or a criminal defense attorney. Nabeel Kibria from criminal defense attorney DC Law Firm (Ervin Kibria PLLC), says that the last thing you want to do when facing false criminal charges is to approach it alone without legal representation and let justice take its course. Your lawyer will help protect you from self-incrimination; determine whether any charges have actually been filed, and negotiate with prosecutors to try and get your false charges dropped or lessened based on the strength of the available evidence. They’ll also represent you during a trial to get you an acquittal and can even help you sue the accuser for defamation where appropriate.
Despite the fact that error rates in conviction are low in most places, they do happen. Going down for an offense you didn’t commit can leave your life in shambles and it’s the last thing anyone would want to imagine. With the above information in mind, however, you now know how to conduct yourself from the time of arrest, during investigations, and the time of trial in a court of law.