The Dos and Don’ts of Being Falsely Accused of a Crime

It sounds just like an episode of Law and Order, but, unfortunately for you, it’s the real thing: You’ve been falsely accused of a crime.

If that sounds like a nightmare, well, that’s because it can certainly feel that way. Being falsely accused of a crime can upend your entire world, causing massive disruptions in your life, your work, and even people’s perception of you. Including those of your friends and neighbors. In order to make your way through it in the best manner possible, you shouldn’t go it alone. You’ll need support along the way, and you’ll also need to be very careful how you navigate the situation.

Here are some important dos and don’ts when it comes to being falsely accused of a crime:

DO: Lawyer Up

There are few things more important than finding legal representation in situations like these. You or someone close to you might have the notion that securing legal counsel implies guilt. It unequivocally does not. What it does mean is that you’ll have resources on your side directing your way through this potential legal battle, proffering the best advice, and using the justice system to help you secure the best possible outcome. In our estimation, it’s a far greater threat to your freedom to not secure counsel.

DO NOT: Speak to the Media or Police (Local, National, Social, or Otherwise)

We 100% understand the compulsion to clear one’s name through the media airwaves. However, by discussing your case with the media or using your own personal social media channels to address your accusations, you’re increasing the risk of making statements that can be misunderstood or exaggerated, and, as a result, used against you in court. Similarly, we strongly advise against your making statements to legal authorities without the express guidance of your attorney. Your instinct will be to speak on the subject as much as possible in order to “get your story out there” but this is one instinct that must be ignored, otherwise you’re greatly jeopardizing your lawyer’s ability to clear your name through the proper legal channels.

DO: Take Care of Yourself

Being accused of a crime is stressful. Stress, according to Mayo Clinic, causes extreme effects on your body, your mood, and your behavior, including headaches, fatigue, restlessness, depression, anger, and tendencies toward drug and alcohol abuse. If there were ever a time where it was important for your to keep yourself healthy and focused, this is it. While we’re not health authorities, we do recommend getting the proper amount of sleep, engaging in activities like exercise and meditation, as well as trying your best to maintain a healthy diet. Maintaining some sense of order in this regard will help you focus on beating your charges and moving on with your life in the quickest way possible.

DO NOT: Contact Your Accuser

The rationale here is very similar to that of contacting the media, as is the urge to contact your accuser to “clear things up.” All these actions do is give more fuel to the prosecution team, giving them plenty of opportunities to misconstrue your statements, or, even worse for your defense, make it appear as though you’re trying to manipulate, intimidate, or harass your accuser. Once you’ve been accused, the only proper thing to do is to find the legal representation that best suits your particular case, and allow them to handle any and all communications in a counsel-to-counsel fashion so that there’s absolutely zero potential for misunderstanding your actions as they pertain to the case.

DO: Gather Your Supporting Evidence, Including Eyewitnesses

Criminal cases — including those based on false accusations — can only be judged based upon the evidence at-hand. Do you have evidence that pokes holes in the prosecution’s case? Time-stamped messages, images, documents, etc. that paint a clearer picture of your innocence? Are there witnesses that can corroborate your story and help ensure an indisputable alibi? Advise your counsel of these witnesses but do not contact them directly.  Your counsel needs every shred of evidence supporting your recollection of events. While this might seem obvious, the stress of criminal accusations creates fear and anxiety in just about everyone, and only reinforces the need to take care of yourself so you can stay focused, clear-headed, and strategic in how you help your lawyer to help you in absolving yourself from the false accusations you’ve been charged with.


DO: Hire the Best Possible Attorney For Your Charges

False accusations, for lack of a better way to put it, can be very tricky cases. Your ability to paint a clear picture for the judge and jury (should your case go to trial) requires legal counsel experienced with similar litigation — a proven track record of successfully representing clients and assisting them in getting their lives back together. You deserve the peace of mind that no stone is being unturned when it comes to your defense. Take the time to do research, read reviews, reach out to friends, family, and trusted advisors to ensure your freedom means just as much to them as it does to you. Good counsel wouldn’t strive for anything less.

Contact a New Jersey White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are under investigation or have been charged with any white collar crime in New Jersey, including those that pertain to a false accusation, criminal defense attorney Robert J. DeGroot is ready to meet with you. For a free initial consultation, call 866-970-0783 or contact our Newark law firm online.

If you are incarcerated, our criminal law attorney can meet with you in jail. Reach out today, because we’re here to help!