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Things To Do When Accused Of A Crime


If you find yourself being falsely accused of a crime in Alabama, there are critical things you need to do and not do to ensure your situation doesn’t get worse. Getting arrested or finding out you are under investigation can feel overwhelming, scary, and frustrating.

Being accused of a crime can turn your world upside down and cause significant disruptions in your life, work, reputation, and relationships with friends and family.

This article will discuss essential steps you need to take to minimize the damage and protect yourself and your rights.

Common Reasons For False Accusations

  • Mistaken identity happens when an accuser misidentifies someone as committing a crime.
  • Misrecollection happens when an accuser makes a mistake when remembering the details of a crime.
  • False or malicious accusations are when an accuser lies and tells the police that a person committed a crime.
  • Official misconduct is when police or the prosecution commit some type of misconduct or abuse of power when arresting someone or charging them for an offense.
  • Misleading forensic evidence happens when an expert exaggerates claims to enhance the impact of their statement.
  • Misidentifications often occur during police line-ups when someone makes their “best guess.” 

10 Important Do’s and Don’ts When Accused Of A Crime

1. Do. Know Your Rights

When facing false accusations, knowing your rights and when to use them if needed is critical. Your rights include:

  • The right to an attorney
  • The right to remain silent
  • The right to refuse a search without a warrant

2. Do. Hire A Lawyer

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are arrested, brought in for questioning or being investigated, or even asked to “just answer a few questions” is to say anything other than “ I want my attorney.”

Even if you are sure you are being falsely accused, police and prosecutors can use anything you say against you in court. It is best to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you in these situations and guide you about which questions you should and should not answer. If you can’t afford an attorney, you will be appointed a public defender to protect your rights and freedom.

3. Do. Remain Silent

Aside from stating your name and asking for your attorney or requesting to receive representation; you don’t need to answer any questions. Don’t think you can talk your way out of anything just because you are innocent. The police are highly skilled at questioning people to find the answers they want, and you can end up being trapped in a pattern of half-truths or misrepresenting the truth. Even if your attorney advises you that you should, you still do not have to, although it is generally a good idea to follow your attorney’s advice.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you against self-incrimination, whether you are being accused of a crime you committed or not. You can’t be forced into answering questions.

4. Don’t. Consent To A Search Without A Warrant

There are very few exceptions when police can search you or your property just because they want to. The Fourth Amendment protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures. For example, if police ask to search your car or your home, insist on asking to see a search warrant first. Make sure you see the actual document and that a judge has signed it. Even if you are confident that you are being falsely accused, the police can use anything they find against you.

5. Don’t. Resist Arrest

It is vital to remain calm and avoid resisting arrest, even if you are being arrested for a crime you did not commit. Any physical resistance, such as shoving, kicking, or attempting to flee, will only hurt your case and improve theirs.

6. Do. Communicate With Your Attorney

Please discuss any information related to your case. If you think you may have evidence that could benefit your case, talk with your criminal defense attorney about it. Make sure that you maintain custody of any evidence that you have, and this may include the following:

  • Pictures and videos
  • Items of clothing
  • Emails and text messages
  • Phone records in GPS records

7. Don’t. Post About Your Case On Social Media

Anytime you are involved in a legal matter, avoid discussing it on social media or with anyone other than your defense attorney. There is no guarantee that police will not see your post or question the person you spoke with to find out what you said and anything you said against you. Completely staying off social media is the best choice, including sharing a picture of you enjoying a nice day because the prosecution can use it against you to portray you in a specific way.

8. Do. Be Patient

Even when you know you are innocent and think your case is “open and shut,” the system doesn’t work that way. Police will continue looking for evidence and questioning other people associated with you and the case. Your attorney may need to conduct an independent investigation to prove your innocence which generally takes time. It could even be weeks or months, so understand this is a marathon, not a race. Stay calm and patient, and work with your defense attorney to protect your rights and freedom.

9. Don’t. Contact Your Accuser

Resist the urge to contact your accuser to clear things up. This will only allow the prosecution to misconstrue what you say and possibly damage your defense. It could appear as though you are attempting to intimidate, manipulate or harass your accuser. The best approach is to hire an experienced defense attorney to represent you and allow them to handle all communications in a counsel-to-counsel process to avoid any potential misunderstandings about your actions or words.

10. Do. Gather Supporting Evidence And Eyewitnesses

Whether you are guilty or not, criminal cases are judged based on the evidence. If you have evidence that will poke holes in the prosecution’s case, such as images, documents, time-stamped messages, etc., that will show you are innocent, then make sure to give these to your attorney. If you have eyewitnesses, share this with your defense attorney, but don’t contact them yourself. Being accused of a crime is stressful and can feel overwhelming. Hire a defense attorney with a proven track record and experience with similar litigation. 

When looking for the best attorney, do your research, ask friends, read reviews and ask trusted advisors. Knowing what qualities to look for when hiring a criminal defense attorney can make the difference between your freedom and ending up in jail because of a false accusation.

Brackin Law Firm Is Here For You

At Brackin Law Firm, our specialty is criminal defense. We understand and have experience and knowledge of the Baldwin County criminal justice system. Whether you need an attorney for drug, violent crimes, theft, or property crimes or are falsely accused, we are here to help you. Contact us today for a consultation and get the representation you deserve.

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