It can be hard to have your reputation tarnished by being falsely accused of a crime, whether it’s something minor, like stealing somebody’s bicycle, or something more serious. Even for those who are proven innocent after trial, the aftermath of being falsely accused is still an emotional burden to bear. However, there are ways that you can handle this situation.
1. Find A Lawyer
This should be your first priority – find a lawyer and make sure you’ve got legal representation. This is necessary even if you’re innocent because there are some steps that only a lawyer can handle.
If the accusations against you are serious and could result in jail time – then this step becomes more essential. Besides having legal representation, expert lawyer knowledge is useful in determining whether or not there is enough proof to detain you while they investigate. A good lawyer will be able to tell you what evidence the police have on you, if any, which might help you determine your next step.
Additionally, since they’ll likely have experience will similar cases, they will be able to provide you with guidance on what to expect both legally and on a personal level.
2. Damage Control
Once you’ve got legal representation, the next step is to do everything you can to minimize the negative impact that these accusations will have on your life.
A false accusation can hurt your reputation as well as your personal relationships, but the damage can be better controlled if you know what you’re doing. Talk with your family about what you’re going through – they’ll likely be supportive, and that can help you cope. If possible, discuss the matter with your employer too, if it has a chance of reaching them. Support from friends and family can be good for morale, especially if the charges are serious.
Additionally, make sure to avoid the Internet as much as you can – this is not an area where you want your name circulating around. Keep in touch with your lawyer and they will let you know when it’s safe for you to emerge from hiding.
3. Be Proactive
False accusations can severely impact your life, but the best thing you can do is to take an active role in dealing with them. Regardless of whether the accusation will lead to legal implications or not, it can have serious effects on you.
If, for example, a coworker accused you, you can’t really keep it a secret. But, you can minimize the damage by talking with the HR department and your boss. Stating clearly that you’re not guilty, as well as being proactive about how to resolve the situation, can often help your case.
Don’t try to hide from the situation. Facing things head-on will make you feel much better, and also send a message to your friends that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Finally, try to remain positive – you haven’t been found guilty. You still have time to clear your name, so long as you are careful during this trying period.
4. Cooperate With The Police
Even if you believe you’ve been falsely accused, it is important to cooperate with the police when they ask. The last thing you want is for them to think that there might be something more to this than meets the eye and start delving into your personal life.
Of course, cooperating doesn’t mean that you have to admit guilt. Make yourself available for questioning, but don’t answer any questions that you think might incriminate you. You want to be careful that the police don’t try and trick you into a confession, so it’s important not to say anything without having legal representation present.
Remember that you’re innocent, so focus on that when you answer questions. Try to stay calm and respectful when you talk to the police, even if they’re trying to intimidate you. Keeping your composure will help prevent them from building a case against you that can be used in court.
5. Gather Evidence
Even if the police aren’t able to pin anything on you, it doesn’t mean that your wrongful accusation is over. So, gather evidence that can help prove your innocence. Look for witnesses who can vouch for where you were when the accusation took place or find proof that you couldn’t possibly have committed the crime. If possible, try to contact any physical evidence that might be relevant. Having a receipt, for example, will show that you were definitely in a store when the alleged crime took place.
False accusations can be a devastating experience, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. If you’ve been falsely accused of a crime – or even if you think you might soon be – getting proper legal representation is the most important thing. At this time, it’s important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. So, keep your nose clean and do everything you can to clear your name.