12 Things To Know If You're Falsely Accused
The scary part is how easily it could happen to any one of us. An informal, pleasant gathering of neighbors over good food and good wine could be the beginning of a nightmarish spiral into a confusing and frightening justice system. Proving that you are innocent--innocent!--may cost you, not your false accuser, so much time, stress, energy, and money. Among other things, you will need a committed lawyer and a healthy bank account to beat a completely bum rap. Of course, few people give much thought to what they should do (and not do) if they are falsely accused. You might have an “it’ll never happen to me” attitude but the truth is, there’s no way to know for sure what curveballs life might have in store—and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Read on for 12 lessons that might make a huge difference if you or a loved one is ever falsely accused of a crime.
Have an “arrest plan” in place (yes, it could happen to you).
Generally, people don’t assume that their homes will catch fire. Statistically speaking, it’s not a likely occurrence. But most people still take out homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, just in case. Likewise, you’ve probably considered what you’d do if someone approached you in a dark parking lot and depending on where you live, your family may have a wildfire, hurricane, tornado, or earthquake plan in place. In the same way, you should think through and be prepared for a possible arrest. Be forearmed with any strategy or knowledge, so that you are not left floundering, completely at the mercy of ‘the system.' It’s a good idea to think about what you would do if you were confronted by the police at your own front door, or how you might respond if you received a phone call telling you that a loved one had been arrested. That disaster may have a higher probability than many of those for which you have prepared. Likewise, it is wise to have “the talk” with your kids beforehand about what they should do if they are ever arrested or interrogated by law enforcement officers, regardless of the reason.
Be the first to call 911.
The person to call 911 is always going to be considered the victim, regardless of the circumstances. If you find yourself in any sort of threatening situation, whether it’s with a family member, friend, coworker, or complete stranger, don’t hesitate. Be the first to call 911. While it may not seem “right” or “fair,” the first person to call 911 is going to be treated as the victim, regardless of the facts or the truth. Accusers are usually treated by law enforcement as the victim since they heard their version of the story first and once you have been taken into custody, you have been classified as the perpetrator of the crime. The so-called victim will receive support from victims’ advocates, the press, law enforcement, the community, etc., while you and your family are on your own to clear your name. Being the first to pick up the phone can save you an unimaginable amount of stress, time, notoriety, and money.
Everyone involved has the right to remain silent.
Imagine the following scenario: Your spouse (or any loved one) has just been handcuffed and taken away from your home in a police car. You have no idea what is going on, and you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, and fear. Meanwhile, other officers and detectives have remained at your residence. Your first instinct is to talk to them, to tell them the truth about what happened, and to prove to them that your spouse has done nothing wrong. Don’t. Even if you aren’t the person being accused of a crime, exercise your right to remain silent. Don’t talk to anyone without a lawyer present. In court you and anyone else involved may be grilled by the prosecution about what you said and what you didn’t say.
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