Few things can leave us tongue-tied more quickly than being accused of a crime we didn’t commit. Even defending against a relatively light charge is hard to bear in the knowledge that we shouldn’t have to defend ourselves against untrue charges. Worse yet are cases when we are wrongfully accused of a grave crime with severe punishments. Unfortunately, this is something that can happen. This blog will analyze some of your options if you find yourself in this difficult situation. Remember, however, that your best course of action is to contact a Bergen County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Retain a criminal defense attorney
First and foremost, you will need to take this situation seriously. You may see the charges against you as ridiculous, but you don’t know how the other side, from the prosecutor to the judge to the jury, understands your circumstances.
To get a sense of your legal rights and how to proceed, you must retain legal counsel. Research lawyers in your area who have dealt with cases similar to yours. Having a lawyer by your side will help you start to strategize.
Coordinate with your attorney
The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner they will be able to fight for you. For instance, your attorney may intervene before the police or prosecutor before you’re even formally charged. If your attorney provides proof to show they have the wrong person, that may be the end of it.
And sometimes not acting is the best step. Any number of things can occur to change the landscape of your legal battle. The prosecutor might not be able to develop enough evidence to support their charge, a witness might recant, or test results might arrive showing you are innocent. In all of these examples, it’s possible that charges simply wouldn’t be filed against you at all.
Prepare Your Case
An excellent way to help your lawyer is to start gathering evidence like documents, communications, emails, clothing, photos, lists of witness contact information, or any other object that might assist in your defense. If you’re unsure what you should gather, ask your lawyer.
What to Avoid When Wrongfully Accused
Do Not Ignore Your Attorney’s Advice
Your attorney should meet with you to review important things to avoid doing. You should listen carefully, as going against your attorney at this moment could cost both of you dearly. Often your attorney will not want you to deal with your legal case directly, whether through contact with evidence or through contact with other individuals working for the prosecution.
For instance, destroying evidence because you are afraid of what it could mean for your case would likely only backfire in a very detrimental way. If you talk with the other side (whether that be witnesses, victims, police, prosecutors, or investigators) without your lawyer present, you may also end up revealing critical information.