What Should I Do If I Was Wrongfully Accused?
Published in wrongfully accused on July 7, 2016.
Being wrongfully accused of a crime is a scary prospect. Your career, your family life, and your finances could all be on the line. If you’re facing a situation like this, how should you handle it?
Confront the Situation Head On
If someone has accused you of a crime that you didn’t commit, don’t run away. Take action immediately. Hire an attorney to represent your needs before formal legal actions, if possible. An attorney will protect your rights and keep you informed about the best steps throughout the rest of the legal process.
Know Your Rights
You have a legal right to remain silent, and you should use it. Don’t say anything unless an attorney has advised you to do so. Authorities can use anything you say against you later. When people are stressed, words often come out wrong and can be twisted against you. An attorney can help by keeping you calm and letting you know the extent to which you should be answering police questions.
In addition, no police entity can search your home, car, or property without just cause. If the police have a warrant to search your home, they must follow certain protocols. If you give them a verbal OK, however, they don’t have to follow such stringent policies. You have the right to refuse any unwarranted searches, and you should take advantage of this right to protect your interests.
Having the truth on your side is good news; however proving it might be costly. But, you can do it with the help of an experienced attorney and a well-documented paper trail. Georgia has a one-party rule for taping conversations (as long as one party knows about the taping, and that one party can be you, then it’s legal). Tape every conversation, save copies of every email. If it’s involved with the case, do something to record it. You may not realize it, but there may be something in those conversations that your lawyer can use to exonerate you.
Don’t Accept a Plea
It’s become a standard practice for prosecuting attorneys to offer pleas deals to avoid the expense of a trial. Courts are overburdened with cases, and a plea deal can save the state money. A plea bargain may seem like an attractive option at the time, but it’s not beneficial to you if you’ve been wrongfully accused. If you accept a deal, you’re admitting guilt – which can affect job prospects, your financial future, and your relationship with family down the road.
Clearing Your Name
Hiring a high-quality attorney is one of the best things you can to do maximize your chances of clearing your name. Hire an attorney with documented experience in the kind of crime you’re accused of having committed. If there’s no other option than public defense, stay as involved in the process as possible.
Once You’ve Been Cleared: Seek Damages
If you’ve been wrongfully accused of a crime, you may spend thousands of dollars on attorneys’ fees to clear your name. Even worse, you may lose your job, your family, and find it hard to pay your everyday bills. Your reputation may be affected for good, even once you’ve been cleared. Once you’ve been cleared of a false accusation, you’re eligible to seek compensation for any financial and emotional damages that you incurred during the process.
If you’d like to seek damages after being cleared of a crime, contact our office today for a free case evaluation. We’ll advise you of the best steps for your specific case. You only pay if we win, so get in touch with us today to set up your consultation.