I’ve Been Falsely Accused of a Crime? What Do I Do?

For many people, being falsely accused of a crime is one of their biggest fears, and for good reason. Let the Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot help you navigate this very tricky situation so that you can do your best to protect your reputation and your freedom!

For those of you familiar with the microblogging social media platform Twitter, you may have heard this phrase before:

“Each day on Twitter, there is one main character. The goal is never to be it.” 

Typically, this sort of situation entails a person who has decided to share what many perceive to be a very strange perspective on a certain topic, or they’ve been publicly outed for poor behavior, or sometimes even worse. It’s people with relatively high profiles finding themselves in minor (or major!) PR crisis (or potentially even criminal) situations.

And though many of them try to delete the tweets, stay silent, and simply move on, it is more often than not that these folks keep going. They keep tweeting. The whole they are digging for themselves just gets deeper and deeper. 

The court of public opinion can have far-reaching effects

You might be wondering, “What does this have to do with being falsely accused of a crime?” Here’s the connection: In relatively high-stress situations, like being confronted by a coworker for poor performance, accused of infidelity by a partner, dogpiled on social media for saying something controversial, or, yes, being falsely accused of a crime, how you react has a deep effect on people’s perception of you. And this could potentially haunt you for a long time.

What’s unfortunate, is that how most people typically react in these situations only makes people’s perceptions of them worse. “So, what?” you might think. When it comes to being accused of a crime, the only thing that really matters is the outcome.

While we agree that that is largely true, public perception has an enormous effect on your reputation, which can also affect what happens after you’ve been accused of a crime, gone to court, and heard a verdict. 

How should you behave if you’ve been falsely accused of a crime?

Listen, we understand that a person’s first inclination when they’ve been falsely accused is to do whatever they can to clear their name. They might want to take to social or other forms of media. They might want to reach out to colleagues or loved ones in an effort to help everyone understand. But this is a matter where you shouldn’t trust your instincts, because it all might backfire on  you. 

You need an attorney

The first, and by far the most important thing you should do, is partner with a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with your type of case. 

You must keep your contacts at a minimum

It’s crucial that you keep your circle small and your statements at a minimum. In fact, you should only speak to those people who your attorney has approved you to speak with, and you should only share information that you’ve been advised to share. 

You must try to avoid all media related to your case

Stay off social media altogether. Try to avoid reading about your case. These things, whether they’re published by the media or by people in the community at-large will only cause you more stress, or make you feel that it’s even more important to make a public statement. 

You must do your best to stay calm

If you’re out in public and confronted about your accusations, you must stay calm and you must limit your words to those you and your defense attorney have agreed to. This will likely feel very restrictive, but your patience and resilience will benefit you in the long run.

You should focus on gathering evidence

One of the most important things you can do in this situation is to help your criminal defense attorney create their defense against the prosecution. Gathering and sharing whatever evidence you might have, including the contact information for any witnesses who could help you with your defense, is a productive way to spend your time. Remember, you should not be contacting any potential witnesses. You must leave this to the professionals. 

You must never engage with your accuser

This is a big, big no-no, and it’s something that the court will frown upon. Again, we understand that defendants might think that reaching out to the accused might benefit them, but it will not. All it will do is give the prosecution more ammunition to damage your character and jeopardize the outcome of your case. Resist this temptation. 

Need more advice about how to navigate a false accusation? Then you need The Law Offices of Robert J. DeGroot. For nearly fifty years, we’ve been successfully defending the rights of people just like you. When you need a criminal defense attorney, there’s simply no time to waste. Contact us for your confidential consultation TODAY.