What Should I Do If I Am Falsely Accused of a Crime?

orlando criminal defense lawyerOn any given day, most citizens in Orlando rarely disobey the law outside of minor traffic violations. The notion that they could face false accusations for a crime like theft or violence seems unimaginable. Unfortunately, this general attitude isn’t accurate, and incidents of wrongful criminal charges happen all the time. What do you do if you’re falsely accused? This is something most of us haven’t ever planned for, or expected to happen in our lives, and the choices we make in response can affect us for a lifetime. Knowing the best course of action in the event that you or a family member faces this situation is just as important as planning a fire escape route in your home. By preparing a course of action ahead of time, you can save yourself astronomical court costs, emotional stress, and possible jail time.

Just Stay Quiet

When you face criminal charges that you’re not responsible for, your first inclination may be to simply cooperate. This is what an innocent person would do, but law enforcement may take something you say out of context and use it against you later. It’s best to exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and speak with an attorney before anyone else.

Demand a Warrant If Asked to Search Your Home

Your home is your kingdom, and you should treat it as such if law enforcement asks to search it. You may think it’s no big deal because you aren’t trying to hide anything, but warrantless searches are not specific. By demanding a warrant to search your home, police must have a detailed scope and purpose for their actions. This means they can only pursue what they have listed on their paperwork. If you permit them to search without specifics in writing, they have no limit as to what they can look for or the reason why.

Don’t Immediately Take a Deal

Innocent until proven guilty is a concept that Americans count on when charged with a crime they didn’t commit. Once an individual starts navigating the complexities of court procedure and the criminal process, it may seem better to just agree with the false accusations and move on with life. Pleading to lowered charges will still hurt your record and have collateral consequences like fines, probation, sex offender registration, or even loss of your license.

Don’t Rely on Public Defenders

If at all possible, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. Public defenders have backlogged cases and an overwhelmed case schedule, so the focus on your circumstances may feel superficial at best. You need an aggressive lawyer, and by investing your money in quality representation, you will save money later on court costs, restitution, and any other expenses associated with your case.

Hiring a Lawyer has Nothing to do with Guilt

Unlike television shows where the bad guy says he wants to speak to his lawyer in a snarky tone, the reality is that having a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re guilty. It’s a serious matter when you have criminal charges against you that have no factual basis. You need to have competent representation to protect your rights and to present evidence of your innocence. The prosecution will fight to convict you, so hiring an attorney is critical.

Don’t Alienate Yourself

The emotional stress of fighting false charges will leave you exhausted, feeling alone, and that the world is out to get you. Strong support networks are a key component to surviving a situation like this, so don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust. Your circle of supporters may dwindle in size during your trial due to the nature of the accusation, community attitudes about your situation, or just the overall awkwardness of knowing someone who is in legal trouble. This doesn’t mean they think you’re guilty of the alleged crimes, but some of your family or friends may avoid you until your case is over.

Take Care of Yourself

Self-care is an underrated practice that deserves more emphasis. Your lawyer and the court will make high demands on your mental and physical well-being, so don’t neglect these areas of your health. Consider a new daily routine that incorporates more exercise and stress relief. Maybe arrange more time with your family to help raise your spirits and take your mind off things for a while. Your problems will still need resolution, but you will have the ability to go the distance.

Stay Off of Social Media

Social media networks are a treasure trove of incrimination. Anything you say or post on these sites will be available to the prosecution team to misconstrue and use against you in court later. Do not discuss your court case online or in any public forum, but keep it private between you and your closest supporters instead. Additionally, if you have already posted anything that may relate to your case, leave it up so you will not face accusations of hiding information from the courtroom.

Avoid News Outlets

If your case involves sensational allegations, your public arrest record could attract media outlets wanting comments about your case. Journalists may encourage you to share your side of the story with the idea that you will have a larger audience outside of the courtroom to support you. This is the furthest from the truth as what you say is then on record for the prosecution to use, and if public opinion doesn’t agree with you, things may seem even more emotionally overwhelming. Let your lawyer decide if a news conference is appropriate or not for your case and let them speak for you.

Hire Aggressive Orlando Defense Attorneys

When wrongfully accused of a crime, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical to building a strong defense and protecting your rights. Resist the pitfalls mentioned in this article so you’ll have a better chance at successfully clearing your name. You should hire The Umansky Law Firm to prepare a strong defense against the false accusations threatening your reputation, freedom, and future.

We have a reputation as aggressive lawyers in Orlando, and as former state prosecutors, we know how the state will likely approach your case. We do everything within our power to negotiate favorable results for our clients, even if going to trial is necessary. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we have the case history to demonstrate our ability to defend you through every step of the criminal process. As members of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, you can trust our honesty, compassion, and dedication to your defense, rights, and future. Contact us today at (407) 228-3838 for an honest evaluation of your case and the next best steps you need to take.