False accusations can cause tremendous stress. If you find yourself facing a false criminal accusation, it’s best to know how to proceed. You don’t have to be versed in criminal law, but knowing the necessary steps can help you defend yourself.
If you are falsely accused of a crime, the steps you take thereafter will largely determine the outcome of your case. Luckily, the best lawyers in London are available to help you. But it is crucial that you know what to do first.
1. Know your rights
In the United Kingdom, you hold certain rights when the police officers are arresting and keeping you in custody. As a UK citizen, you must know these rights:
- You can be held up to only 24 hours until they charge or release you
- If they suspect you of a heavy crime, you may be held for up to 36 to 96 hours
- You may be released on bail if the police don’t have enough evidence for a charge
While in custody
- You have the right to free legal advice, contact someone to let them know your whereabouts, and seek medical help
- You can see Codes of Practice of the police and the notice for your rights
When being questioned
- You may not answer questions, but there is a possibility for consequences
- The police must make you aware of these consequences
- You have the right to remain silent until you are released or have an attorney with you
These rights will protect you against any maltreatment by the police.
2. Get a lawyer as soon as possible
An accusation can have detrimental effects on your reputation and disrupt your daily life. An arrest is distressing enough; don’t wait for the police to charge you until you take action. Contacting an attorney as early as possible may deter a criminal charge. Legal representation will protect you against false allegations that arise from miscommunication, mistakes, or misunderstandings.
If the case proceeds to court, an attorney will give you the vital representation that can make or break your case. It may seem unfair that you have to spend for an attorney when you are innocent, but do not overlook the importance of having one.
3. Commence an investigation
Once you are charged for the crime, your lawyer will investigate the case. In this step, your lawyer will evaluate the prosecutor’s case, which will help you build a solid defence. It is important for you to stay calm and collected during this time. Do not, under any circumstances, destroy evidence that you may think are incriminating, contact victims or witnesses, talk to the police or prosecutors without your lawyer, or consent to any test requested by law enforcement without your lawyer.
4. Sue them back
A false accusation can cause damage to your reputation, finances, and other aspects of your life. You can turn the case around on the person or persons who accused you of a false crime. When wrongfully accused, you can file a defamation case for libel or slander, and/or malicious prosecution or false imprisonment. Either way, you need your attorney to help you strike back.
Being falsely accused can be upsetting and unfair. However, the steps you take after that are of utmost importance. Be sure to remember and take these steps to help you deal with the problem as pain- and stress-free as possible.