Why you could be falsely accused of a crime
Being wrongfully accused of a crime is not a situation anyone expects to find themselves in, but although it’s a quite rare, it does happen. Whilst it’s impossible to be prepared for being accused of a crime you didn’t commit, if it does happen to you, it’s crucial that you immediately take the right steps towards clearing your name.
Reasons for being wrongfully accused of a crime
Every situation is unique, however there are some reasons that come up again and again when people are falsely accused of a crime. A common one is mistaken identity, where you, the accused have been wrongly identified as the perpetrator of a crime by the victim, usually because of a physical resemblance to the actual criminal.
Being falsely accused of a crime can also happen when the accuser holds a grudge against you and decides to lie in an attempt to cause trouble for you. False accusations can also happen when either the alleged victim or accuser gives false information unintentionally due to mental health problems.
What to do when you are falsely accused of a crime
No matter how ridiculous or even laughable you think the allegation seems, if you are falsely accused of a crime, it’s vital that you contact a solicitor immediately to get the best possible advice on what could be a daunting and complicated process ahead. Whether you are facing a charge relating to a relatively minor crime like a petty theft or a motoring offence or dealing with a serious criminal accusation like sexual assault, rape, or murder, the highly experienced criminal defence team at Bray & Bray can provide you with the expert advice you need.
If you find yourself arrested or are told you are to be interviewed under police caution, you are entitled to free and independent legal advice. Ask for Bray & Bray at the police station or call the emergency 24-phone number on 07885 332421.
What not to do when you are falsely accused of a crime
If you find yourself falsely accused of a crime, your first instinct is likely to be to confront or appeal to the accuser directly, particularly if you know the person who is accusing you. For example, if you were falsely accused of stalking your ex-partner, it can be tempting to try to ask the person making the allegation to withdraw their false claim. However, this is to be avoided at all costs as the situation could easily escalate and play into the accuser’s hands. After all, it will not help your case if you, the accused stalker are seen to be engaged in an altercation with them. It could lead to further allegations of witness intimidation – a crime that may well be more serious than the initial allegation.
What do I do if I know my accuser?
The simple answer is to avoid all contact with the person who has accused you of a crime you have not committed. However this is not always possible where circumstances dictate that you have to come into contact with your accuser in a personal or professional setting. If you do find yourself in this deeply unpleasant situation, your solicitor will advise that a witness is present at all times to avoid escalating the situation further, for example by giving your accuser another opportunity to make false allegations against you.
Innocent until proven guilty?
According to the Human Rights Act of 1998, you, the defendant are innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must prove your guilt. As the accused, your defence team have no obligation to prove your innocence for you to be acquitted.
This means that you have no legal duty to answer any questions whilst being questioned by police or during any trial. However, a refusal to cooperate may lead a jury to make an adverse inference about you. Again, as each case is unique, it’s crucial to listen to the expert advice of your solicitor at every step of the process.
What about my privacy?
Unless you are under 18, you will not be entitled to anonymity while a case is before the courts, making it all the more important that action is taken while the matter is under investigation, to avoid a charge being brought at all, if possible. The same rule applies to accusers, although the press may well treat a supposed victim rather more discreetly. The only real exceptions are fir child witnesses or those who make allegations of rape, as they are considered to be vulnerable and are therefore entitled to anonymity.
No matter what crime you have been wrongly accused of, your first priority should always be to engage the services of a trusted solicitor to avoid the worst-case scenario of a wrongful conviction.
Solicitors specialising in criminal defence
If you find yourself falsely accused of a crime, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced and supportive criminal defence solicitors:
- Leicester: 0116 254 8871
- Hinckley: 01455 639 900