Falsely Accused? Here's What to Do

Getting accused of a crime you did not commit can obviously turn your entire world upside down. If you find yourself being accused of a serious crime, you will want to do everything you can to clear your name. Certain crimes like sexual assault can carry a serious stigma that will follow you the rest of your life if you don't set the record straight. If you have been falsely accused of a crime, here's what you should do next.

Stay Calm—the Burden Is Not on You

It can feel like the world is closing in around you when you find yourself accused of a serious crime. But it's important to remember in this situation that you are innocent until proven guilty and will be tried in a court of law, not the court of public opinion. It is the prosecution's responsibility to carry the burden of proving you are guilty. You technically don't even have to prove that you are "innocent" but that there are major holes in the prosecution's case. Introduce the idea of reasonable doubt to the jury or judge and you may have a fighting chance.

Don't Talk to Anyone Without a Lawyer Present

When you are accused of a serious crime, the police may try to interview you. It is very important that you insist that you only speak to them with a lawyer present. A police interview could trap you with certain questions in a way that makes it seem like you are admitting to something. A good lawyer will be able to keep the police honest and provide protection if things get heated.

Create a Written Account ASAP

In a complex legal case, there's a chance you might be interviewed more than once. The other side might also try to confuse you or ask you to repeat yourself multiple times in order to clarify the record. The best defense in this situation is to make sure you stick to the same story every single time. Any inconsistencies will be used against you in court. With the aid of your attorney, create a written account of everything that happened and commit it to memory. If the other side tries to twist things around, make sure you stick to the truth and the script that you have created.

If you have been falsely accused of a crime, you need to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.