Unfortunately, many people are charged with crimes they did not commit. If this happens to you, you could feel like you are living in a nightmare. Your life and liberty could be in jeopardy if you are found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony crime in Virginia—which is possible even if you are innocent.
You need to take immediate actions to protect your rights when you are falsely accused of a criminal offense. Here are four steps that can help you prove your innocence and achieve the best outcome possible in your criminal case.
#1: Retain a Lawyer
The first step you need to take is to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If possible, you should hire a lawyer as soon as you learn you are a suspect in a criminal investigation. A lawyer can help collect the evidence you need and develop an aggressive defense strategy to fight the charges you face.
#2: Gather Evidence
After you retain a skilled lawyer, your next step should be to help them by collecting any evidence that can poke holes in the evidence against you and that can support your defenses. What evidence will be useful will depend on the crime and your defenses and can include:
- Physical evidence, such as clothes, photos, and videos
- Cell phone records, emails, receipts, GPS data, financial records, and other documents
- Possible witnesses who have evidence about the crime, evidence, the victim, or where you were at the time the crime was committed
#3: Don’t Talk to the Media or Police
It is crucial that you exercise your right to remain silent and not talk to the police. While you may want to try to convince them that they made a mistake, they would use your statements against you in your criminal case. You should never talk to the police without having your lawyer present.
In addition, you should not share your version of what happened with the media. This could seriously hurt the ability of your attorney to effectively represent you. Leave all communications with law enforcement and the media to your lawyer.
#4: Don’t Contact the Victim
You should not try to contact the victim to clear things up with them or determine why they are falsely accusing you of committing a crime. It could make you look like you are harassing the victim or pressuring them to change their statement, which can weaken your defense and be used against you by the prosecutor.
Are the police falsely accusing you of committing a crime in Virginia? Our skilled legal team is here to mount a strong defense for you, whether you are innocent or guilty. To learn how we can help you, call our office to schedule your free consultation today.