Being falsely accused of a criminal offense is horrifying. You have done your best to lead a law-abiding life, but for some reason, that is not enough, and you are now under suspicion anyway. There are a number of reasons you may have been accused of something you did not do, ranging from mistaken identity to a malicious lie. False accusations of domestic violence and similar crimes are strikingly common, especially when a couple goes through a rough divorce or break-up. Immediately contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as you learn that you are under suspicion may give you the best chance of proving your innocence.
What Can I Do If I Am Wrongly Accused of a Crime?
The exact steps you should take will depend on how far along in the criminal process you are. If you are merely a suspect and have not been arrested or charged, refusing to talk and asking for a lawyer is probably the right thing to do. If you are already facing charges or have been indicted, the time to contact an attorney is yesterday. Here are some other tips that may help:
Be proactive – If you are merely a suspect, you should still take action. This is the best possible time to retain a lawyer. By getting on top of the situation, your lawyer may be able to work with the police or prosecutor to show that you are innocent and avoid you ever being charged in the first place.
Gather evidence – If you are lucky enough to have a demonstrable alibi or some other solid proof that you could not have committed the crime, it needs to be preserved immediately. Save items that might show where you were during the crime, like your receipt from a movie theater or the text message you sent to let your friend know you had arrived.
Identify witnesses – If there is anyone who may be able to testify that you are not guilty, it is important to make sure you have their names and contact information. Especially if you were out alone or with a group of people you do not know well, you will need to make sure you and your lawyer will be able to contact and interview these people.
Most importantly, call a lawyer as soon as you find out that you are suspected of a crime. The sooner the situation can be addressed the better the outcome may be. In the meantime, avoid talking to the police and try to remain as calm as possible.
Call an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer
If a false criminal accusation is keeping you up at night, Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law, may be able to help set your mind at ease. Our firm’s experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys are skilled at helping falsely accused clients clear their names. Call us at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help.