Being accused of a crime is not a matter to be taken lightly. Even if you didn’t commit a crime, the accusation alone can have serious legal consequences. Many people assume that because they know they didn’t commit the crime, there is nothing to worry about. This is not true. Many have been falsely accused, convicted, and punished for terrible crimes they never committed. Being falsely accused is a serious matter that must be handled delicately. These are the five best things you can do if falsely accused of a crime in Illinois:
Realize the Seriousness of Your Situation
As mentioned above, being accused of a serious crime, such as rape, assault, or murder, is a gravely serious matter. Defending your innocence is going to be pricey. In addition to hiring a good criminal defense lawyer, numerous expert witnesses (medical doctors, chemical dependency experts, etc.) must often be called to give testimony.
You are essential to your own defense in a false accusation case. You do not need to go to law school and learn all the intricacies of the legal system—that’s what your defense attorney is for. However, it’s essential that you understand the facts of your case, what you are being charged with, and your civil rights. If you are confused about something, ask your defense lawyer for clarification. The more you know about your case, the better chance you have of defending yourself in court.
Document the Case
It is essential that you document the facts of your case. Keep a detailed account of what happened at what time, as well as the persons involved. Document every single detail, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Every piece of information is important. These practices will help you and your defense attorney in crafting the best strategy for defending your case.
Consult with an Attorney
The legal system is an intricate maze. The average person, unschooled in the law is severely disadvantaged in the courtroom. That’s what lawyers are for. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system, and work with you to create the best possible strategy for defending your case.
Know Your Rights
The most important right you have is the one everyone hears prior to being arrested: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. Anything you say can be used against you. So keep your mouth shut! Do not give the police or prosecution anything other than the information necessary to identify you: your name, address, and date of birth. You have a constitutional right to do this. Do not make any statements to law enforcement officials before first speaking with a criminal defense attorney.