What to Do When You Are Falsely Accused of a Crime in Pennsylvania
False criminal accusations in Pennsylvania can completely alter your life and tarnish your reputation. Whether you’re accused of theft, assault, drug possession, or any other offense, understanding your rights and taking proactive measures is paramount. Here are some steps to take when you are falsely accused of a crime in PA:
First, Remain Calm
When facing false accusations, feeling overwhelmed, angry, or defensive is natural. However, maintaining your composure is crucial when being investigated for a crime.
Staying calm allows you to think clearly and make rational decisions. Secondly, a composed presence can help counter preconceived notions. Imagine you are falsely accused of embezzlement at work. By demonstrating composure while the situation is investigated, you convey a sense of confidence and sincerity, which can positively influence how others perceive your character.
Additionally, remaining calm helps prevent unintended confrontations or conflicts. Finally, a calm and collected approach can serve as a valuable defense, showing that you are a level-headed individual unjustly caught in a challenging situation.
While it may be difficult, maintaining your composure during false accusations is essential in safeguarding your reputation, navigating the legal process effectively, and clearing your name.
Do Not Consent to a Search
Never consent to a search, even if the accusations are false. Unless law enforcement has a warrant, they are almost always prohibited from searching your property unless you permit them to do so. If police conduct an illegal or unlawful search, any evidence they obtain could be tossed out.
While it may be tempting to cooperate fully, it is essential to exercise this right. By not consenting to a search, you protect yourself from potential privacy violations and ensure that evidence is obtained lawfully.
Even if you have nothing to hide, consenting to a search can inadvertently allow misconstrued evidence or unrelated items to be used against you. By asserting your right to refuse a search, you maintain control over the situation and preserve the integrity of your defense.
Exercise Your Other Rights
As you go through the criminal process, you must exercise and assert all your rights. These are your legal protections to ensure a fair process. Two of the most crucial rights are your right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.
By exercising these rights, you demonstrate your commitment to going through the proper protocol and increase the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
Your Right to Remain Silent
If you’ve been falsely accused, you might be urged to explain yourself and clear your name. Avoid this compulsion. You might make any number of statements that could be misconstrued or used against you, as even innocent remarks can be twisted in the context of an investigation.
Always exercise your right to remain silent. Anything you say could be self-incriminating and used against you at trial. If you exercise your right to remain silent, you can protect yourself and avoid helping law enforcement officials build a case against you.
Your Right to an Attorney
You should also exercise your right to an attorney. Although you can work with a public defender, these attorneys are often overworked. It is unlikely they can give your case the attention it deserves. For this reason, hiring a private criminal defense attorney is almost always in your best interests.
As soon as police detain you, begin interrogating or questioning you, exercise your right to an attorney, and contact one immediately. Your attorney can help you navigate questioning, gather evidence, and present a strong defense.
In the meantime, exercise your right to remain silent.
Contact an Experienced Defense Attorney
Speak to a highly qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Once you have an attorney working for you, they can take over your defense and perform critical actions like:
- Identify witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Conduct a thorough investigation into the accusations that have been made
- Determine whether the accuser’s allegations have merit
- Identify reasons the accuser would have made false allegations
- Challenge the accuser’s credibility
- File motions to exclude unlawfully obtained evidence
Do Not Talk or Post About Your Case
Avoid discussing your case with anyone other than your lawyer. The last thing you need is to post about the allegations on social media and have it used against you.
For example, if you were accused of a DUI, and subsequently went on your social media posting about parties or alcohol, the judge or jury could mistake this as evidence against you.
Remember, anything you post is considered public and could be self-incriminating. Additionally, you should never take down posts unless your lawyer or the judge advises you to. The court might believe you are attempting to hide evidence.
Consider Suing False Accusers
You should consider all your options when false allegations have been made against you. In some situations, you might be able to sue those who made them. For example, if someone accused you of heinous sex crimes, you might have grounds for a defamation lawsuit.
You might also have grounds for legal action against investigators, police, and prosecutors if gross misconduct contributed to the accusations against you.
While clearing your name may be the priority, suing false accusers can serve multiple purposes. Firstly, it allows you to seek justice for the harm caused. A successful lawsuit can provide financial compensation for damages, including legal fees, lost income, emotional distress, and reputational harm. Secondly, it acts as a deterrent against baseless accusations in the future.
You can learn more about how to take action for wrongful allegations in civil court when you discuss the specific details of your case with your attorney.
Our Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
No one should be forced to deal with false criminal accusations. The repercussions can be overwhelming and hard to recover from, personally and professionally. But in difficult times, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, our team of experienced Pittsburgh defense lawyers understand the intricacies of navigating false accusations in PA and will work tirelessly to protect you. We can guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, challenge false allegations, and advocate for your best interests.
We’re here to help reclaim your life and reputation if you face false criminal accusations. Do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You can learn more about approaching your defense strategy best when you do.
Call (412) 281-2146 to get started.