Unfortunately, wrongful accusations, charges, and convictions do occur in the justice system. Everyone operating in that system, including police, investigators, attorneys, and judges are fallible and capable of making mistakes. When this occurs, the innocent can become the victim.
Becoming a victim of a false charge can not only leave you subject to criminal penalties, but also additional consequences that may inhibit your future employment and/or educational opportunities.
If you are currently facing a false accusation of committing a crime in Central Ohio, you may be wondering how you’re going to secure your legal rights and mount a strong defense. This is the time when you need an experienced Columbus criminal defense lawyer on your side. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we understand your plight and can effectively employ our skills and experience to fight for the elimination of your charges, or if necessary, defend you vigorously at trial.
What to Do If You’re Wrongfully Accused of a Crime
Once you are under investigation for or have been charged with a crime you did not commit, it is important that you take certain actions that can protect you in the legal sense.
- Hire an Attorney
Some defendants may bypass hiring an attorney and put too much faith in the good graces of the legal system, assuming that their obvious innocence will eventually be proven by the investigative process. However, this would be a wrong assumption to make. Retaining an experienced Columbus criminal defense attorney is an important first step to securing your freedom. Having an attorney working for you in the early stages of the investigation will minimize the legal risks you face and increase the chances you will be proven innocent. Your attorney should work vigorously to pressure the police as necessary to investigate what is required to discover the truth.
- Use Your Right to Remain Silent
The natural inclination of many who are falsely accused of a crime in Columbus is to declare their innocence to all concerned. However, it is important to take advantage of your constitutional right to remain silent to the authorities. Speak with an attorney first before you speak with law enforcement. It is easy to make an error by forgetting details or relating your story with certain inconsistencies that could potentially tarnish your version of events in the view of the police or investigators. Get your story straight with your attorney first.
- Demand a Search Warrant
Never allow the police to search your residence without a search warrant in hand from the court. By doing this, you ensure that law enforcement follows the rules. As well, the prosecution may not have enough evidence against you to obtain a search warrant – this can help you protect your innocence without the need to continue the investigation.
- Don’t Contact the Alleged Victim or the Victim’s Witnesses
The idea of talking to the person who is falsely accusing you of crime may seem appealing. However, having a conversation with this individual could potentially make matters worse. If such a conversation is not handled properly, you may be accused of trying to intimidate the plaintiff. Any proposed conversation with your accuser that you believe will help solve the matter between the two of you should be discussed with your attorney first before moving forward.
- Gather Evidence That Supports Your Innocence
If you know of beneficial evidence that contributes to proving your innocence, gather that evidence into one location and present it to your attorney. Typical forms of physical evidence that may help your case include photos, video recordings, clothing, and other material objects. You should also gather any documents connected to your case such as emails, letters, legal or financial records, GPS records, phone records, login/logout records, and any relevant computer records. Your attorney can help present these records to law enforcement in a proper and effective manner to demonstrate your innocence.
With the above said, it is also important to refrain from destroying any evidence that may not benefit your case. Destruction of evidence is illegal and may result in additional criminal charges.
- Gather Witnesses Who Can Collaborate Your Story
Make a list of witnesses who may potentially be able to corroborate your version of events. You may ask these persons to relate their side of the story with your attorney. Any individual whom you believe has information about the accusations against you, the incident involved, or the alleged victim may prove to be a beneficial witness on your behalf.
- Be Prepared for the Fight
If you are falsely accused of a crime in Ohio, you may encounter a fight you did not expect. Although you are innocent, it is important for you to be prepared for a potential legal battle ahead. One way to do this is to hire a skilled and experienced attorney to advocate vigorously on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer
Facing a false accusation or charge of committing a crime in Ohio can be a startling event to absorb. However, our team of Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck, and Associates has the experience you need to form an intelligent and effective defense on your behalf.
Call us today at (614) 500-3836 to set up a free preliminary case evaluation.